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Pulse Polio Programme

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Why in the news?

  • October 2019 marks 25 years of Pulse Polio Programme in India. 
  • In 1988, the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed a resolution to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). 
  • The Government of Delhi piloted the first ever large scale supplementary immunization campaign with OPV in 1994 giving birth to the “Pulse Polio” immunization campaign with the iconic ‘Do Boond Zindagi Ki’ tagline, on 2nd October 1994, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. 
  • The campaign in Delhi reached nearly one million children up to the age of three years with two doses of OPV being administered on 02 October and 04 December through exclusive booth-based strategy. This strategy was later adopted and implemented by Government of India as Pulse Polio Campaigns. 
  • India’s attainment of polio-free status in 2014 was coined by the World Health Organization as “one of the most significant achievements in public health,” and marked not just India but the entire South East Asia Region being declared polio-free.
  • Today, Polio vaccines are provided under the Universal Immunization Programme under Mission Indradhanush of the Government of India.

What is Polio?

  • Polio (also known as poliomyelitis) is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Children younger than 5 years old are more likely to contract the virus than any other group.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 200 polio infections will result in permanent paralysis. 

What are the types of polio vaccines?

  • There are two types of vaccine that protect against polio: inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) and oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV). IPV is given as an injection in the leg or arm, depending on the patient’s age. Polio vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Most people should get polio vaccine when they are children. Children get 4 doses of IPV at these ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6-18 months, and a booster dose at 4-6 years. 
  • Until recently, the benefits of OPV use (i.e. intestinal immunity, secondary spread) outweighed the risk for vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) which occurred in one child out of every 2.4 million OPV doses distributed. Thus, developed countries have shifted to IPV
  • OPV continues to be used in the countries where polio is endemic or the risk of importation and transmission is high. OPV is recommended for global polio eradication activities in polio-endemic countries due to its advantages over IPV in providing intestinal immunity and providing secondary spread of the vaccine to unprotected contacts.

 

Fertilizer Application Awareness Programme

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices

Why in the news?

  • In order to disseminate knowledge to farmers on optimum usage of fertilizer nutrients based on various parameters to sustain agricultural productivity and to make farmers aware of new developments in the field of fertilizer usage and management, the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare along with Union Minister for Chemical and Fertilizers jointly inaugurated the bi-annual Fertilizer Application Awareness Program at Pusa in New Delhi today. 
  • The event is organised jointly by both Ministries before Kharif and Rabi season each year with the help of State Governments.

What are the major issues regarding fertilizer use in India?

There are many issues concerning Indian agriculture, which bears a direct relationship with the usage of Fertilizers.  Some of the issues with regard to usage of fertilizers which were discussed during the technical session are 

  • Imbalance in usage of major Plant Nutrients viz. N, P & K; Non-awareness of usage and deficiency of Nutrients other than N-P-K required by Soil (micronutrients); 
  • Declining response ratio of the soil to the fertilizer application (Inefficiency of fertilizers); 
  • Agronomic importance of low analysis fertilizers like Single Super Phosphate; 
  • Development of new types of fertilizers like liquid fertilizers, special compounds, bio-fertilizers, slow-release fertilizers etc.; 
  • Climatic zones, Soil types, quantity & method of fertilizers usage and suitability for crops; 
  • Long-term sustainability of agriculture;
  • Use of Soil health cards to get the right amount and right type of fertilizers for each crop.

Prelims Specific

  • Most advanced Electronic Interlocking System has been installed on the Grand Chord route.  The measure is expected to help Indian Railways speed up trains and to achieve its future objective of reducing the travel time between Delhi and Howrah to about 12 hours from the existing 17-19 hours. Grand Chord is part of the Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line. It acts as a link between Sitarampur, (West Bengal) and Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction, Uttar Pradesh, and covers a stretch of 450 kms falling in North Central Railway (NCR) Zone of Indian Railways, which maintains and operates 53% portion of this New Delhi-Howrah route.
  • Brahmos is a two-stage (solid propellant engine in the first stage and liquid ramjet in second) air to surface missile with a flight range of around 300 km.It is named on the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva. Brahmos is a multiplatform i.e it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions.