fbpx

For online IAS classes

For online IAS classes, Click Here, Click here.

WHO CALLS FOR VIGILANCE ON WUHAN VIRUS

Relevant for: Paper-1&3 

Topic: Health & Sanitation and related issues

 

The WHO also maintained that the outbreak had not spread and that the seafood market in Wuhan — a major domestic and international transport hub — is now closed and no cases have been reported elsewhere in China or internationally.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has cautioned that though there is no evidence currently of human-to-human transmission of the Wuhan pneumonia that has killed one person in China and infected 40 others, there is a “need to remain vigilant.”

Wuhan coronavirus or Wuhan seafood market pneumonia virus is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA coronavirus first reported in 2019 and genomically sequenced after nucleic acid testing on a positive patient sample in a patient with pneumonia during the 2019-2020 Wuhan pneumonia outbreak. The virus is the same family that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The virus in question can cause severe illness in some patients but does not transmit readily between people.

Wuhan City: – It is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and expressways passing through the city and connecting to other major cities. Because of its key role in domestic transportation, Wuhan is sometimes referred to as “the Chicago of China” by foreign sources. The “Golden Waterway” of the Yangtze River and its largest tributary, the Han River, traverse the urban area and divides Wuhan into the three districts of Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang.

 

PM DEDICATES FOUR REFURBISHED HERITAGE BUILDINGS IN KOLKATA TO THE NATION

Relevant for: Indian Art & Culture

 

The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi dedicated to the nation Four Refurbished Heritage Buildings in Kolkata today. These are Old Currency Building, the Belvedere House, the Metcalfe House and the Victoria Memorial Hall.

  •  Old Currency Building ‘This is a handsome three-storied building, designed in Italian style, the walls were made of brick. Founded in 1833, it at first housed Agra Bank. The building was named as the Currency Building when the Government occupied a large portion of it for its Currency Department in 1868 from the Agra Bank Limited. The roof was arched on iron joist and the floor covered with marble and chunar sandstone. A handsome gate at the entrance in three parts, is of a very florid design in wrought iron.

 

  • The Belvedere Estate consists of Belvedere House and the 30-acre (12 ha) grounds surrounding it, in which the National Library of India is housed, since 1948.It is located in Alipore, near the zoo, in Calcutta. Belvedere House was the former palace for the Viceroy of India and later the Governor of Bengal.

 

  • The Metcalfe Hall was erected as its name imparts to perpetuate the memory of Lord Metcalfe, who officiated as Governor-General of India from March 1835 to March 1836. It was originally conceptualised as a Public Library later on housed the Imperial Library.

 

  • The Victoria Memorialis a large marble building in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, which was built between 1906 and 1921. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and is now a museum and tourist destination under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture.

 

INDIA CANNOT AFFORD TO TAKE SIDES IN US-IRAN TENSIONS. BUT NEW DELHI MUST ACTIVATE ITS REGIONAL DIPLOMACY

Relevant for: International Relations

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

 

The tensions between the US and Iran peaked following the killing of the General Qassem Soleimani, in a drone attack in Iraq.

Iran had a range of options at its disposal, but stopped at retaliatory strikes on US bases in Iraq. The use of regional proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen would have been risky and could have enlarged the conflict, leading to entirely unpredictable consequences for Iran.

On the escalation ladder, the US could have resorted to further attacks on select military and other targets if Iran’s retaliation had resulted in US casualties. Trump had earlier warned Iran that the US would target 52 sites in Iran

Notably, even when Iran publicly declared its intention to walk away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) in the aftermath of Soleimani’s killing, it was careful to reassure the international community of its continued commitment to the NPT and IAEA inspections.

If Iran has regional proxies, the US has a strong ally in Israel in addition to its many bases and carrier forces in the region. Given Iran’s implacable hostility towards Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu had unequivocally lauded Trump’s action after Soleimani’s killing. After Iran’s retaliation, he had said Israel had both the will and the capacity to inflict a “crushing blow” on Iran if attacked. Any armed conflagration between Iran and the US would only deepen the faultlines between the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds, worsening the fragility in Iraq.

The Iraqi parliament’s non-binding resolution to end the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil is unlikely to make any difference. On the face of it, one can infer that it is not only aimed at the US and its allies, but also at Iran.

The receding war clouds may not be enough to calm the nervous energy market, where a spike of one dollar per barrel can result in a magnified surge in India’s import bill by about $1.6 billion, according to CARE Ratings.

Russia has been supportive of Iran’s policies in Syria. It condemned the US attack on Soleimani as a violation of international norms, though China was by far the more vocal of the two, calling it dangerous military adventurism.

China remains Iran’s biggest oil market, an arms supplier and a top trade partner. Iran was reassured of China’s support for safeguarding the JCPOA. Oddly, amidst the rising regional tensions on December 27, Russia, China and Iran came together for a four-day trilateral naval exercise, the first of its kind, in the Gulf of Oman. It was intended to send a strong message to the US that Iran was not isolated.

Each time there is a regional crisis, whether the tide of communism in the 1950s, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, or more recently, the global war on terror after 9/11, Pakistan has returned to the game with newer chips. However, the US should not take Pakistan for granted. It is driven by its own compulsions and has a history of perfidy. If the Saudis could not get Pakistan to rally around it in Yemen, it is doubtful if the US will be able to secure Pakistan’s support against Iran. Pakistan would more likely gravitate towards any emerging tandem between Russia, China and Iran.

India cannot afford to take sides. Energy supplies and the safety and security of its vast diaspora in the Gulf are of utmost importance. India has a substantial Shia population too, with sympathy for Iran.

Proposals for regional security abound — from Iran’s Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE) to the US’s International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC). Russia too has a proposal for collective security in the Persian Gulf. As a large and influential country with goodwill and abiding stakes in the extended neighborhood, it is in India’s interest to activate its regional diplomacy in order to shape outcomes.

 

GOVT. LAUNCHES ROAD ACCIDENT DATABASE

Relevant for: Indian Economy

Topic: Infrastructure: Roads

The government on Monday launched a central accident database management system that will help in analysing causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce such accidents in the country.

The IT tool, known as the Integrated Road Accident Database (IRAD), has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M) and will be implemented by the National Informatics Centre. The project costs Rs. 258 crore and is being supported by the World Bank.

Facts regarding ROAD ACCIDENT: – It kills almost 1.5 lakh people annually in India. The young adults (18-45 years) accounted for nearly 69.6% of road accident victims. Minors involved in road crash deaths were at 6.6% of the total deaths. The share of males in the number of total accident deaths was 86% while the share of females was around 14% in 2018. Delhi has been ranked first in the total number of road fatalities compared to other Indian cities

 Major Cause: Over-speeding is a major cause, accounting for 64.4% of the persons killed. As the maximum number of road accidents occurred on straight roads. Two-wheelers accounted for the highest share (35.2%) in total accidents in 2018.

Steps taken at Global Level:
  • Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety (2015): The declaration was signed at the second Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety held in Brazil. The first conference was held in Russia (2009).
  • Through the Brasilia Declaration countries plan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 3.6e.to half the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2030.
  • United Nationshas also declared 2010-2020 as the decade of action for Road Safety.
  • The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) :It is a registered charity dedicated to saving lives through safer roads.
Steps taken Indian Government:
  • India has signed the Brasilia declaration and committed to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.
  • Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019
    • It hikes the penalties for traffic violations, defective vehicles, juvenile driving, etc.
    • It provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund,which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
    • It also provides for a National Road Safety Board,to be created by the Central Government through a notification.
    • The act also provides for the protection of good samaritans.