Daily Current Affairs : 25th January 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. 1974 protocol exchange agreement between India – Pakistan on visiting shrines
  2. GRAM Report
  3. National Electronic Policy
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . 1974 Protocol exchange Agreement between India- Pakistan on visiting shrines

Context : Despite a complete standstill in trade and travel between India and Pakistan, a new proposal by the Pakistan Hindu Council to allow Hindu, Muslim and Sikh pilgrims to travel by air has been forwarded by the government in Islamabad to authorities in New Delhi.

About the News

  • Proposal was sent to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) by the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi on behalf of the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) chief patron, Ramesh Vankwani, asking that two chartered flights of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) carrying pilgrims be allowed to fly from Lahore and Karachi to destinations in India this Saturday.
  • If clearances are received, this would be the first PIA flight to travel to India since operations were suspended in 2019, and the first ever such flight carrying pilgrims from either side since 1947.
  • At present, groups of Indian and Pakistani pilgrims who still visit each other’s countries under a 1974 protocol exchange agreement, travel by road over the Wagah-Atari border.

1974 Agreeement

Taking note of the sentiments and devotion of the various communities in the two countries for the historic and sacred shrines in the other have agreed on the following principles for facilitating visits to such shrines :

  • Such visits from one country to the other shall be allowed without discrimination as to religion or sect. The list of shrines to be visited will be finalised shortly through correspondence. The agreed list may be enlarged from time to time by mutual agreement.
  • Upto 20 parties may be allowed to visit from one country to the other every year. This number may be revised from time to time.
  • Every effort should continue to be made to ensure that places of religious worship mentioned in the agreed list are properly maintained and their sanctity preserved.
  • Such visitors will be given Visitor Category visas.

2 . GRAM Report

Context : Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), or antibiotics becoming ineffective because pathogens such as viruses, fungi and bacteria become resistant to them, has long been recognised as a major threat to public health. However, there are only few estimates on the scale of the problem and regional variations. Based on estimates from 204 countries and territories, the Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report published in The Lancet provides the most comprehensive estimate of the global impact of AMR so far.

What did the GRAM report find?

  • Its headline finding is that as many as 4.95 million deaths may be associated with bacterial AMR in 2019. Estimates included in the paper show that AMR is a leading cause of death globally, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria.
  • In South Asia, over 3,89,000 people died as a direct result of AMR in 2019. The death rate was the highest in Western sub-Saharan Africa, at 27.3 deaths per 1,00,000 and lowest in Australasia, at 6.5 deaths per 1,00,000.
  • Lower respiratory tract infections accounted for more than 1.5 million deaths associated with resistance in 2019, making it the most common infectious syndrome.
  • The six leading pathogens for deaths associated with resistance were Escherichia coli, followed by Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
  • They were responsible for 3.57 million deaths associated with AMR in 2019. One pathogen–drug combination, meticillin-resistant S aureus, caused more than 1,00,000 deaths attributable to AMR in 2019, while six more each caused 50,000 -100,000 deaths.

How was this study done?

  • GRAM is led out of the University of Oxford Big Data Institute —IHME Strategic Partnership. IHME is the Institute for Health Metrics.
  • The research paper lists a large number of contributors from across the world who provide data from multiple sources, including microbiology data, inpatient data, data on multiple causes of death, and pharmaceutical sales data.
  • The data was then broken down, by region, into deaths in which infection played a role by infectious syndrome; pathogen distribution for deaths and incident cases; incidence of infectious syndromes disaggregated by age, sex, and location; prevalence of resistance by pathogen; relative risk of death for drug-resistant infection compared with drug-sensitive infections; and finally, computing the burden attributable to drug resistance and burden associated with drug-resistant infections.

What are the implications of this study?

  • Common infections such as lower respiratory tract infections, bloodstream infections, and intra-abdominal infections are now killing hundreds of thousands of people every year because bacteria have become resistant to treatment. This includes historically treatable illnesses, such as pneumonia, hospital-acquired infections, and foodborne ailments.
  • Everyone is at risk from AMR, but the data show that young children are particularly affected. In 2019, one in five global deaths attributable to AMR occurred in children under the age of five —often from previously treatable infections.
  • AMR is threatening the ability of hospitals to keep patients safe from infections and undermining the ability of doctors to carry out essential medical practice safely, including surgery, childbirth and cancer treatment since infection is a risk following these procedures.
  • Between 1980 and 2000, 63 new antibiotics were approved for clinical use. Between 2000 and 2018, just 15 additional antibiotics were approved.
  • Out of the seven deadliest drug-resistant bacteria, vaccines are only available for two (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis). Whilst all seven of the leading bacteria have been identified as ‘priority pathogens’ by the World Health Organization (WHO), only two have been a focus of major global health intervention programmes —S. pneumoniae (primarily through pneumococcal vaccination) and M. tuberculosis.

What do the authors suggest as the way forward?

  • They recommend greater action to monitor and control infections, globally, nationally and within individual hospitals.
  • Access to vaccines, clean water and sanitation ought to be expanded. The use of antibiotics unrelated to treating human disease, such as in food and animal production, must be “optimised”.
  • And finally they recommend being “more thoughtful” about our use of antimicrobial treatments —expanding access to lifesaving antibiotics where needed, minimising use where they are not necessary to improve human health and acting according to WHO’s recommendations on the same.
  • They also recommend increasing funding for developing new antimicrobials and targeting priority pathogens such as K. pneumoniae and E. Coli and ensuring that they are affordable and accessible to most of the world.

3 . National Electronic Policy

Context : Given the ‘unforeseen and unprecedented’ challenges brought by the pandemic, India is likely to achieve electronics production of $300 billion by 2026, lower than the target of $400 billion by 2025 set as per the National Policy on Electronics (NPE) 2019, according to a vision document.

Salient Features of NPE 2019

  1. Create eco-system for globally competitive ESDM sector: Promoting domestic manufacturing and export in the entire value-chain of ESDM.
  2. Provide incentives and support for manufacturing of core electronic components.
  3. Provide special package of incentives for mega projects which are extremely high-tech and entail huge investments, such as semiconductor facilities display fabrication, etc.
  4. Formulate suitable schemes and incentive mechanisms to encourage new units and expansion of existing units.
  5. Promote Industry-led R&D and innovation in all sub-sectors of electronics, including grass root level innovations and early stage Start-ups in emerging technology areas such as 5G, loT/ Sensors, Artificial Intelligence (Al), Machine Learning, Virtual Reality (VR), Drones,   Robotics,   Additive   Manufacturing,   Photonics,   Nano-based devices, etc.
  6. Provide   incentives   and   support   for   significantly   enhancingavailability of skilled manpower, including re-skilling.
  7. Special  thrust  on  Fabless  Chip  Design  Industry,  Medical Electronic Devices Industry, Automotive Electronics Industry andPower Electronics for Mobility and Strategic Electronics Industry.
  8. Create Sovereign Patent Fund (SPF) to promote the developmentand acquisition of IPs in ESDM sector.
  9. Promote trusted electronics value chain initiatives to improve national cyber security profile.


The implementation of the Schemes/ Programmes under the aegis of the National Policy on Electronics 2012 (NPE 2012) has successfully consolidated the foundations for a competitive Indian ESDM value chain. NPE 2019 proposes to build on that foundation to propel the growth of ESDM industry in the country. The National Policy of Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019) replaces the National Policy of Electronics 2012 (NPE 2012).

Implementation strategy and targets

  • Implementation strategy: The Policy will lead to the formulation of several schemes, initiatives, projects and measures for the development of ESDM sector in the country as per the roadmap envisaged therein.
  • Targets: Promote domestic manufacturing and export in the entire value-chain of ESDM for economic development to achieve a turnover of USD 400 billion (approximately INR 26,00,000 crore) by 2025. This will include targeted production of 1.0 billion (100 crore) mobile handsets by 2025, valued at USD 190 billion (approximately INR 13,00,000 crore), including600 million (60 crore) mobile handsets valued at USD 110 billion (approximately INR 7,00,000 crore) for export.

Major Impact

  • The NPE 2019 when implemented will lead to formulation of several schemes, initiatives, projects, etc., in consultation with the concerned Ministries/ Departments, for the development of ESDM sector in the country. It will enable flow of investment and technology, leading to higher value addition in the domestically manufactured electronic products, increased electronics hardware manufacturing in the country and their export, while generating substantia! employment opportunities.

4 . Facts for Prelims

Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar

  • The Government of India has been conferring the National Award on Children for their exceptional achievement in the fields of innovation, scholastic achievements, social service, arts & culture, sports and bravery can apply for the award
  • Any person who knows about a meritorious achievement by a child can recommend this child for the award
  • Under this scheme, awards will be given in two categories ie Bal Shakti Puruskar to individuals and Bal Kalyan Puraskar for institutions/individuals working for children .

Community Spread

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) says community transmission “is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)”.
  • In the simplest terms, community spread is when you do not know the source of the infection — you are unable to trace it back to someone who has travelled in an affected area overseas, or got it through contact with someone who is infected.
  • Community spread implies that the virus is now circulating in the community, and can infect people with no history — either of travel to affected areas, or of contact with the infected person.
  • In a situation of community transmission, it is theoretically possible for every person regardless of where they are from or whether they have been in contact, to spread the infection.

Star of David

  • Star of David is thsymbol that appears on the flag of Israel

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