- Third phase of COVID-19 vaccination begins today; All adults to get vaccinated
- First batch of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V to arrive in country today
- Prime Minister Modi directs officials to ensure poor get benefits of free food-grains without any issue
- Import duty on vital diagnostic kits, reagents used in COVID-19 related diagnosis waived off by centre for 6 months
- Govt permits import of Oxygen concentrators for personal use
- Nation commemorating 400th Parkash Purab of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji
- PM Modi bowed to Guru Teg Bahadur on occasion of his 400th Parkash Purab
- President Kovind pays obeisance to Guru Tegh Bahadur on his 400th Prakash Purab
- PM expresses condolences over loss of lives due to fire at hospital in Bharuch
- Centre releases in advance over Rs 8873 cr for SDRF to all States
- May Day being observed across the globe today
- US: Pentagon to cancel Trump’s Mexico wall projects using military funds
- EAM Dr S Jaishankar, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken review flow of equipment, materials coming from U.S.
- Chinese Foreign Minister offers sympathies at COVID challenge faced by India
- Myanmar approaching point of economic collapse: UN Report
- The Madras high court questioned the government’s preparedness over the past 10-15 months.
- There’s no denying that the huge numbers of Covid cases and deaths in the current wave are the result of poor planning and mixed messaging over the months of January, February and March.
- Five assembly elections with massive rallies, panchayat polls in several states and the Kumbh Mela had created a false sense of normalcy.
- This despite health experts warning for months about the onset of a bigger second wave.
- For, even after this wave subsides, it won’t be the end of Covid and we must prepare for the next wave.
- After all, the virus is evolving with new variants cropping up across the world.
- One thing this disease has shown is that it can’t be tackled through ad-hoc measures.
- Healthcare and pandemic mitigation measures can no longer be treated as temporary arrangements.
- They need to be front and centre of the mainstream political agenda.
- Boost the country’s healthcare infrastructure – including vaccine supplies – now to prevent an even bigger catastrophe in the future.
Silence no option
- If struggling with sickness wasn’t enough, criminalisation of SOS calls through social media for oxygen, beds etc and the seizure of oxygen cylinders and drugs like remdesivir from patients have shaken us all.
- Thankfully, Supreme Court and Delhi high court have called out this frittering away of the state’s energies in policing cries for help and attempts at self-help.
- Instead, the state must train all its attention on expanding healthcare capacity.
- Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has said that adequate oxygen is available and people don’t need to rush to hospitals in panic.
- But then make this oxygen available for patients in home-care and at hospitals.
- Citizens are panicked precisely because there is a struggle to secure oxygen.
- News media reports allow domestic and foreign governments to grasp the big picture of the devastation and respond appropriately, as world nations are now doing with help beginning to pour in.
- Newspapers are publishing fact-checked information and images of crematoriums and hospitals are the harsh reality to be recognised, accepted and remedied.
- UP CM Adityanath, who threatened the draconian NSA on those spreading ‘rumours’ of oxygen shortages, should also heed SC’s directions.
Call of the heart
- Justice N Anand Venkatesh of the Madras HC has been hearing the plea of two women for protection from their respective families.
- Admitting that he knew little about same-sex relationships, he has decided to learn more to “pave the way for my evolution”, so that the judgment could come from “the heart”.
- In the constitutional frame, it is clear that two consenting adults have the right to live together free from social or familial harassment.
- Our perspectives are expanded by encountering the reality of others – we can then see the structures of injustice we were once blind to.
- Waking up is a learning process for everyone, especially those with no direct experience of that social unfairness.
- Remember, our higher courts do not represent the diversity of our society in terms of gender or caste; there is only one woman chief justice across 25 high courts, and very few SC, ST or OBC judges, though these groups make up most of the population.
- This has real repercussions for justice delivery – in the way testimonies are heard and judgments made.
- Until the judiciary broadens to accommodate all these perspectives, we can only appreciate those who hold out hope that hearts can change, and change the world too.
Facts and figures
- With India’s official death toll from the coronavirus crossing 200,000, it is now placed fourth, after the United States, Mexico and Brazil.
- The three countries with a higher death toll have, per million, 1,600-1,800 deaths between them. India’s is only about 150.
- This low count is meant to impress that India has done a better job in protecting its people.
- On the other hand, a spectrum of independent experts have pointed out the problems in the system of death-reporting in India.
- On April 16, as per Gujarat’s health bulletin, there were 78 official deaths. But 689 bodies were either cremated or buried following COVID-19 protocol.
- Last year, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and West Bengal did not count deaths in those who had co-morbidities as COVID-19 deaths.
- Visuals of bodies and of people on the threshold of death from a lack of access to basic medical facilities such as oxygen have made it harder for the government to convince people that the coronavirus is better controlled in India than anywhere else.
- The absolute number of the aged — coupled with the fact that they lack the kind of access to health care their counterparts in developed countries have, means that the coronavirus, left unchecked, would wreak havoc.
- Even now, less than 4% Indians above 60 have been fully vaccinated.
- This when over 15 crore vaccine doses have been administered so far.
- India must redouble its efforts at being honest and transparent with its numbers, however unpalatable they may be.
The rising sun in India-Japan relations
- Contrary to the expectations of many, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has turned out to be a true successor of his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, on the foreign policy front.
- His visit to the United States last month has set the agenda for the wider Indo-Pacific engagement of Tokyo and its evolving priorities.
- To begin with, Tokyo and Washington drilled down to brass tacks on their joint security partnership given the need to address China’s recent belligerence in territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas as well as in the Taiwan Strait.
- Both sides affirmed the centrality of their treaty alliance, for long a source of stability in East Asia, and pledged to stand up to China in key regional flashpoints such as the disputed Senkaku Islands and Taiwan.
- Cooperation on cybersecurity and space technology.
- 5G and quantum computing
- Given China’s recent pledge to invest a mammoth $1.4 trillion in emerging technologies, Washington and Tokyo scrambled to close the gap by announcing a Competitiveness and Resilience Partnership, or CoRe
- The two allies earmarked billions in funding for the deployment of secure 5G networks, committed to building digital infrastructure in developing countries and promised to collaborate on setting global digital standards.
- Both sides have also signalled their intent to continue the Trump-era policy of pressure on China to reform economic practices such as “violations of intellectual property rights, forced technology transfer, excess capacity issues, and the use of trade distorting industrial subsidies”
- Both powers repeatedly emphasised their vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific that respects the rule of law, freedom of navigation, democratic norms and the use of peaceful means to settle disputes.
- Japanese premier plans to visit India as soon as the situation permits
- A Modi-Suga meeting, accompanied by the planned 2+2 Ministerial meetings
- Economic ties and infrastructure development are likely to be top drawer items on the agendas of New Delhi and Tokyo.
- Suga-Modi Summit would undoubtedly devote much attention to evolving a joint strategy towards key third countries and multilateral bodies.
- Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.
- Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Q.) China is building its own space station. Name the module that it has launched recently.
- Tiangong 2
- Shenzuo 9
- Chang’ e
Q.) US, France and UK has said that they will not recognize the result of Presidential election of ______
Q.) In 2020, India supplied which drug to Russia, to treat Covid patients?