India lifted 271 million people out of Poverty in a decade
•According to India’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at least 271 million people were lifted out of multi-dimensional poverty between 2005-06 and 2016-17.
•However, 27.9% of India’s population was still poor in 2016-17
•In rural areas poverty reduction has outpaced that in urban areas
•As the Covid-19 feared to make the country poorer, India would need to recount its poor
【Multidimensional Poverty Index was launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) in 2010】
Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act, 1968.
•Recently, Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Kerala government on a plea challenging the Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act, 1968
•The Act prohibits sacrifice of animals and birds in temples to ‘please’ the deity.
•It also criminalises the intent behind the animal sacrifice and not animal sacrifice per se.
•The petitioners, who are Shakthi worshippers, appealed that animal sacrifice is an integral part of the worship and an essential religious practice.
•It was also argued that the Act applies only to Hindus but does not stop other religions from practising it which is arbitrary and violative of Article 14 (Right to Equality before the Law) of the Constitution.
【According to the SC, there may be a point in saying that taking lives is permissible in certain circumstances but cruelty is not.】
•Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has confirmed that India is no longer involved in the Farzad-B gas field project of Iran
•Farzad-B gas field is located in Persian Gulf (Iran).
•The contract expired in 2009 after declaration of commerciality of the field, based on the gas discovery.
•It has gas reserves of more than 19 trillion cubic feet.
•ONGC has invested approximately USD 100 million.
•The major dispute between India and Iran was over setting up of two pipelines, and also over money to be quoted on the development plan
【Further, it said that India has not received any response from Iran since December 2019 on the future of the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project as well.】
Decline in Maternal Mortality Ratio in India
•As per the World Health Organization, maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management
•Recently, the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS) has released a special bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18
•MMR has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016
•MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths during a given time period per 1,00,000 live births during the same time period
•Assam (215)[ Highest]
•Uttar Pradesh (197),
•Madhya Pradesh (173)
•Kerala (43) [Lowest]
•Tamil Nadu (60)
【The Office of the Registrar General is under the Ministry of Home Affairs.】
Covid-19 vaccine – ZyCoV-D
•Recently, India has started phase I/II clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine – ZyCoV-D, designed and developed by Zydus (a pharmaceutical company) with support from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
•ZyCoV-D, a plasmid DNA vaccine, comes under the Vaccine Discovery Programme supported by the Department of Biotechnology under the National Biopharma Mission.
•The other indigenously developed vaccine – Covaxin – produced by Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech is also underway to start clinical trials
National Biopharma Mission
•It is an industry-academia collaborative mission for accelerating biopharmaceutical development in the country.
•It was launched in 2017 at a total cost of Rs. 1500 crore and is 50% co-funded by World Bank loan.
•It is being implemented by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA) Programme
•It has been launched for the first time in online mode in the state of Andhra Pradesh
•Initially, the NISHTHA programme was launched in 2019 through face-to-face mode to improve learning outcomes at the elementary level in the country.
•NISHTHA is a capacity building programme for improving the quality of school education through integrated teacher training.
•It aims to build competencies among all the teachers and school principals at the elementary stage