UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 20-02-2021

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February 20, 2021

Helina and Dhruvastra

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has designed and developed anti-tank guided missiles,
    1. Army version Helina, and
    2. Airforce variant Dhruvastra.
  • These are third generation, Lock-on-Before-Launch (LOBL) fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missiles that can engage targets both in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode.
  • The system has all-weather day and night capability.
  • They can defeat battle tanks with conventional armour as well as with explosive reactive armour.
  • The missiles could be fired in hover and max forward flight against realistic static and moving targets.

Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge

  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs selected 25 cities selected for the Nurturing Neighbourhoods Challenge under the Smart Cities Mission.
  • These cities would carry out projects for making early childhood-friendly neighbourhoods.
  • It aims to work with Indian cities and their partners to improve public space, mobility, data management across city agencies, etc.
  • Selected cities - Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Erode, Agartala, Indore, Kakinada, Kochi, Ranchi, Salem, Trivandrum, Tiruppur, Ujjain, etc.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

  • A child has recently been diagnosed with Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar, the first case for this year.
  • AES, locally called chamki bukhar (fever causing seizure), usually surfaces during summer in the flood-prone districts of north Bihar.
  • It is characterized by acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) along with new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.
  • The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
  • Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria have also been reported.
  • Japanese encephalitis virus is the major cause of AES in India (5%-35%).
  • Influenza A virus, West Nile virus, Chandipura virus, mumps, measles, dengue, Nipah, Zika are the other causes of AES in India.
  • Due to the wide range of causal agents and the rapid rate of neurological impairment, clinicians face the challenge of a small window period between diagnosis and treatment.
  • Widely reported areas - Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Tamil Nadu, UP.

India Energy Outlook 2021

  • This report was released by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • It has forecasted that India will overtake the European Union as the world’s third-largest energy consumer by 2030.
  • [At present, India is the fourth-largest global energy consumer behind China, the United States and the European Union.]
  • It is based on the forecast that India accounts for the biggest share of energy demand growth over the next two decades.
  • India’s primary energy consumption would double as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expands to USD 8.6 trillion by 2040.
  • India accounts for nearly one-quarter of global energy demand growth from 2019-40 — the largest for any country.
  • Its share in the growth in renewable energy is the second-largest in the world, after China.


  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Agricultural Labourers (AL) and Rural Labourers (RL) for the month of January 2021 is decreased.
  • The base year for the CPI-AL and RL calculation is 1986-87.
  • The major contribution towards the fall in general index of AL and RL came from the fall in prices of pulses, onion, potato, brinjal etc.
  • The fall/rise in index varied from State to State.

Consumer Price Index

  • It examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food, and medical care.
  • It is calculated by taking changes in price over time for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them.
  • This is done from the perspective of a retail buyer.
  • Labour Bureau under the Ministry of Labour and Employment compiles the CPI for Industrial Workers (IW), Agricultural Labourer (AL) and Rural Labourer (RL).
  • Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation compiles CPI (Rural/ Urban/ Combined).
  • CPI is adopted as the key measure of retail inflation by the Reserve Bank of India in 2014.
  • India uses 2012 as the base year for calculating CPI.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush

  • Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare has launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0 and the IMI 3.0 portal.
  • Focus of the IMI 3.0 will be the children and pregnant women who have missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Beneficiaries from migration areas and hard to reach areas will be targeted.
  • Mission Indradhanush was launched in 2014 to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to all citizens of the country.
  • Since its first phase, Mission Indradhanush has covered 690 districts and vaccinated 37.64 million children and 9.46 million pregnant women.
  • The present 8th campaign will target achieving 90% Full Immunization Coverage (FIC) in all districts of the country.
  • Every year the Universal Immunization Programme caters to the vaccination needs of 2.65 crore children and 2.9 crore pregnant women against 12 Vaccine Preventable Diseases.


Source: PIB, The Hindu, Business Line, Down To Earth

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