Daily Current Affairs
24 February 2021

1) Indradhanush 3.0 to fill gap in immunisation

GS 2

Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health



  1. The States and Union Territories (UTs) have rolled out the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0 scheme to cover children and pregnant women who missed routine immunisation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  2. Health Ministry said that more than 29,000 children and 5,000 pregnant women were covered on the first day.



  1. Various States and UTs have started implementation of the Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0, a campaign aimed to reach those children and pregnant women who have been missed out or been left out of the Routine Immunisation Programme.
  2. This is aimed to accelerate the full immunisation of children and pregnant women through a mission mode intervention.
  3. The first phase has been rolled out from February 22 for 15 days.
  4. The campaign is scheduled to have two rounds of immunisation lasting 15 days (excluding routine immunisation and holidays).
  5. It is being conducted in 250 pre-identified districts/urban areas across 29 States/UTs.



  1. Beneficiaries from migration areas and remote areas would be targeted as they may have missed their vaccine doses during the pandemic.
  2. As per the guidelines released for IMI 3.0, the districts have been classified to reflect 313 low risk, 152 medium risk and 250 high risk districts.
  3. The Ministry said adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour (CAB) during immunisation activities has been strongly emphasised.
  4. The States have been asked to follow a “staggered approach” to avoid crowding at the session sites and even plan break-up sessions if a staggered approach is not effective.
  5. The sessions have also been planned in such a way that not more than 10 beneficiaries are present at the session site at one given point in time.



  1. Immunization Programme in India was introduced in 1978 as Expanded Programme of Immunization(EPI) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
  2. In 1985, the programme was modified as Universal Immunization Programme(UIP) to be implemented in phased manner to cover all districts in the country by 1989-90 with the one of largest health programme in the world.
  3. Despite being operational for many years, UIP has been able to fully immunize only 65% children in the first year of their life.
  4. Through UIP, Government of India is providing vaccination free of cost against vaccine preventable diseases include diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, severe form of childhood tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia (Hemophilus influenza type B infections), Japanese encephalitis (JE) in JE endemic districts with introduction of newer vaccines  such as rotavirus vaccine, IPV, adult JE vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)  and measles-rubella (MR) vaccine in UIP/national immunization programme.



  1. To strengthen and re-energize the programme and achieve full immunization coverage for all children and pregnant women at a rapid pace, the Government of India launched “Mission Indradhanush” in December 2014.
  2. The ultimate goal of Mission Indradhanush is to ensure full immunization with all available vaccines for children up to two years of age and pregnant women.
  3. The Government has identified 201 high focus districts across 28 states in the country that have the highest number of partially immunized and unimmunized children.
  4. Earlier the increase in full immunization coverage was 1% per year which has increased to 6.7% per year through the first two phases of Mission Indradhanush.
  5. Four phases of Mission Indradhanush have been conducted till August 2017 and more than 2.53 crore children and 68 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated.



  1. To further intensify the immunization programme, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) on October 8, 2017.
  2. Through this programme, Government of India aims to reach each and every child up to two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme/UIP.
  3. The focus of special drive was to improve immunisation coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunisation to more than 90% by December 2018.
  4. Under IMI, four consecutive immunization rounds were conducted for 7 days in 173 districts (121 districts and 17 cities in 16 states and 52 districts in 8 northeastern states) every month between October 2017 and January 2018.
  5. Intensified Mission Indradhanush has covered low performing areas in the selected districts (high priority districts) and urban areas.
  6. Special attention was given to unserved/low coverage pockets in sub-centre and urban slums with migratory population.
  7. The focus was also on the urban settlements and cities identified under National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).



  1. To boost the routine immunization coverage in the country, Government of India has introduced Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 to ensure reaching the unreached with all available vaccines and accelerate the coverage of children and pregnant women in the identified districts and blocks from December 2019-March 2020.
  2. The IMI 2.0 aims to achieve targets of full immunization coverage in 272 districts in 27 States and at block level (652 blocks) in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar among hard-to-reach and tribal populations.
  3.  With the launch of Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0, India has the opportunity to achieve further reductions in deaths among children under five years of age, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending preventable child deaths by 2030.
  4. Several ministries, including the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Youth Affairs and others have come together to make the mission a resounding success and support the central government in ensuring the benefits of vaccines reach the last mile.



  1. Conduction of four rounds of immunization activity over 7 working days excluding the RI days, Sundays and holidays.
  2. Enhanced immunization session with flexible timing, mobile session and mobilization by other departments.
  3. Enhanced focus on left outs, dropouts, and resistant families and hard to reach areas.
  4. Focus on urban, underserved population and tribal areas.
  5. Inter-ministerial and inter-departmental coordination.
  6. Enhance political, administrative and financial commitment, through advocacy.
  7. IMI 2.0 drive is being conducted in the selected districts and urban cities between Dec 2019 – March 2020


Source- The Hindu


2) Facebook to end Australia news blackout

GS 2

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



  1. Facebook said recently it would lift a contentious ban on Australian news and pay local media companies for content, after a last-gasp deal on pending landmark legislation.
  2. Australia’s Treasurer announced a face-saving compromise that will see Google and Facebook plunge tens of millions of dollars into the struggling local news sector.
  3. In return the U.S. digital firms will, for now, avoid being subjected to mandatory payments that could cost them vastly more and create what they see as an alarming global precedent.
  4. Just hours after the compromise was unveiled, Facebook announced its first proposed deal with an Australian media company, Seven West, and was said to be pursuing commercial deals with other local news organisations.
  5. The company is expected to use the content to launch a dedicated news product in Australia later this year.



  1. While links to news may not be direct advertising money-spinners for Facebook or Google, both see the presence of news as an important aspect of audience engagement with their products.
  2. Google and Facebook are two of the largest and most profitable companies in history – and each holds far more bargaining power than any news publisher. The news media bargaining code sets out to undo this imbalance.
  3. The fight in Australia is in fact, centred on how much control these companies would be able to retain on their payout process — operational aspects such as deciding the quantum of payments for news feed sources, and having to reveal changes in their algorithm.



  1. According to a FICCI-EY report for 2020, there are 300 million users of online news sites, portals and aggregators in the country — making up approximately 46% of Internet users and 77% of smartphone users in India at the end of 2019.
  2. With 282 million unique visitors, India is the second largest online news consuming nation after China.
  3. In India, digital advertising spends in 2019 grew 24% year-on-year to Rs 27,900 crore and are expected to grow to Rs 51,340 crore by 2022.
  4. A substantial discussion on the impact of intermediary platforms on the health of news media outlets is yet to begin in any meaningful way.



  1. Google has threatened to remove its search engine from the country, and Facebook has said it could block Australian users from posting or sharing news links if proposed norms on royalty payments are rolled out.
  2. Royalty payment: A royalty is a legally-binding payment made to an individual, for the ongoing use of his or her originally-created assets, including copyrighted works, franchises, and natural resources.
  3. The argument made by the global tech companies is that: The Australian media industry is already benefiting from traffic being routed to them by each of the digital platforms.
  4. The new rules proposed by the Australian authorities would expose them to unmanageable levels of financial and operational risk.
  5. Hefty fines proposed by authorities are being seen as an added disincentive.
  6. The fundamental difference in the approach taken by the French and Australian authorities on the issue is that France specifically linked payments to copyright, without putting a forcing device into the agreements like in Australia.


Source- The Hindu


3) NASA releases Marslanding video: ‘Stuff of dreams’

GS 3

Awareness in the fields of Space



  1. NASA recently released the first high-quality video of a spacecraft landing on Mars, a three-minute trailer showing the enormous orange and white parachute hurtling open and the red dust kicking up as rocket engines lowered the rover to the surface.
  2. The footage was so good _ and the images so breathtaking _ that members of the rover team said they felt like they were riding along.
  3. The Perseverance rover landed last Thursday near an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater to search for signs of ancient microscopic life.



  1. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched its Mars 2020 Perseverance rover aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V.
  2. This is the third launch to Mars this month, following the UAE’s Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft.



  1. Look for signs of ancient microbial life.
  2. Collect Martian rock and dust samples for later return to Earth.
  3. Deliver an experimental helicopter.
  4. Study the climate and geology of Mars.
  5. Demonstrate technology for future Mars missions.



  1. It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh by Indian Space Research Organisation in November 2013.
  2. It was launched on board a PSLV C-25 rocket with aim of studying Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars).


Source- Indian Express


4) Border tension aside, China India’s top trade partner in 2020

GS 2

Bilateral agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests



  1. China topped India’s list of trading partners in 2020 despite high tension between the countries, showed provisional data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  2. Its position at the top is not just a result of India’s continued dependence on its electrical and nuclear machinery, but a spurt in shipments of products like iron and steel as well.



  1. Despite a drop from the $85.47 billion traded between India and China from January to December 2019, total trade between the countries stood at $77.67 billion during the same period in 2020 — a year that saw a deadly clash between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan Valley.
  2. The skirmish sparked various measures by the government to cut Chinese presence in the country, including a ban of popular apps, termination of major infrastructural contracts and the approval of production-linked incentive schemes to reduce dependence on critical goods from the neighbour.
  3. Electrical machinery and equipment, at $17.82 billion, and nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances, at $12.35 billion, continued to top the goods imported from China in 2020 — a sign of continued dependence as India works towards self-reliance in critical sectors.
  4. At the same time, imports of these goods dropped by nearly 11 percent in the calendar year.
  5. Meanwhile, Indian iron and steel saw a 319.14 percent jump in exports to China, with shipments touching $2.38 billion during January to December 2020. Iron and steel exports to China in 2019 were around $567 million.



  1. India’s trade with the US, its top trading partner in 2019, took a hit during the pandemic.
  2. Total trade with the US in 2020, at $75.95 billion, lagged behind China.
  3. India exported goods worth $49.06 billion to the US between January and December 2020, down from $53.82 billion the year before.
  4. However, imports from the country took a bigger hit, dropping to $26.89 billion in 2020 from around $36.28 billion in 2019.



1.Cotton yarn

2. Iron ore

3.Organic chemicals

4.Mineral fuels

5.Plastic items



8.Electrical machinery

9.Iron and steel

10.Gems & Jewellery



  1. The main items to be exported from China to India are electrical machinery and equipment, organic chemicals, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, silk, mineral fuels, and oils.
  2. Value added items also dominate Chinese exports to India, like machinery, specially electrical machinery, which forms about 36% of Chinese exports to India.


Source- Indian Express


5) Vice President calls for ending low representation to women in Parliament and legislatures

GS 2- Women Empowerment



  1. The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu called for ending low representation to women in Parliament and legislatures and called upon all political parties to reach a consensus on providing reservation to them.
  2. Releasing a postal stampbrought out in memory of late Smt. Eashwari Bai, educationist, social reformer and a former MLA, the Vice President paid rich tributes to her.
  3. SmtEashwari Bai’s contributions to the political and social spheres are truly laudable and left a deep imprint on the public mind.



  1. He said that Smt. Eashwari Bai had been the voice of the people as an opposition leader. She constantly advocated the cause of Children, NGOs, Teachers, Agricultural labourers, and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  2. Shri Naidu said that although the 17th Lok Sabha has the highest number of 78 women members, they account only for 14% of the total number.
  3. Pointing out that reservations for women in the local bodies have politically empowered lakhs of women in the country, he said introducing reservation for women in Parliament and legislatures needs urgent attention and consensus of all political parties.
  4. Expressing his anguish over the increasing disruptions instead of meaningful discussions and debates in legislatures and Parliament, Shri Naidu called upon all parliamentarians and other public representatives to raise the standards of debate in every forum.
  5. Observing that the mantra for a healthy democracy is to discuss, debate and decide and not disrupt, the Vice President said that frequent disruption of Parliament and legislatures was tantamount to disrespecting the people’s mandate. Agree to disagree and be tolerant of the mandate of the people.



  1. Shri Naidu emphasized that it is the responsibility of both the ruling and opposition parties to ensure the effective functioning of our legislatures.
  2. The Vice President also urged all political parties to adopt a consensual approach on matters of national importance like the country’s security, eliminating corruption and ensuring social justice.
  3. He said that there should be consensus on reforms to accelerate development, eliminate delays, diversions and dilutions in delivery of schemes and reaching out benefits to the needy.
  4. Similarly, all political parties must speak in one voice on empowering people, promoting transparency and accountability in the system.
  5. The Vice President also urged all political parties to evolve a code of conduct for their members, particularly public representatives.
  6. VP appealed to the people to elect their representatives on the basis of 4Cs—Character, Conduct, Calibre and Capacity.
  7. Uunfortunately, another set of 4Cs—cash, caste, criminality and community—is trying to hold politics hostage to its vicious interests and needs to be completely eliminated for India’s democracy to flourish and become a role model for other nations.
  8. Shri Naidu opined that for a healthy democracy, the Government and opposition should respect each other.
  9. He also appealed to the youth to enter politics with a missionary zeal to serve the needy and poor in the society.


Source- PIB


6) Scientist from IIT Kanpur develops washable adhesive and related products

GS 3- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life



  1. Scientists have developed a sticky mat which takes away dust from a contacting surface, ensuring a clean, hygienic, healthy, and refreshing atmosphere at our home, offices, hospitals, and laboratories as also smooth functioning of many expensive equipments.
  2. The mat is a low-cost one and remains washable and usable over many cycles.



  1. Prof Animangsu Ghatak from the Department of Chemical Engineering IIT Kanpur, who developed the mat with the support of Department of Science & Technology, Government of India under Make in India initiative, took inspiration from adhesive pad present at the feet of wall climbing animals, like house lizards.
  2. The adhesive associated makes use of nanoscopic pyramidal bumps on its surface to attract dust particles towards it, thereby cleaning the sole of our shoes when we step on it.
  3. When the adhesive gets completely covered with particulate matter, it is washed in a way that we wash our clothes.
  4. At this, the surface gets back its ability to stick and remains usable through hundreds of such cycles.



  1. The scientists have used a bottom-up approach of preparation of nano- to micro-patterned surface on elastomer over a large area, control of geometry of surface patterns by simple methods, washability, and reusability of the adhesive over many cycles for the development of this mat.
  2. It has been validated, and an Indian patent application has been filed for the sticky mat. It is simple to prepare, easy to wash, environmentally benign, cost-effective, and can be a replacement for materials imported for the same purpose.
  3. The closest substitute is the 3M sticky pad that is not washable or reusable.
  4. This mat can be used in ICU of Hospitals, clean rooms, facilities housing sophisticated equipment as a component of air filters.
  5. The technology is important wherever cleanliness and hygiene is desired. The product is in 7 – 8 level of technology readiness level and is yet to be commercialised. A pilot plant is being built to make the material in a scale larger.


Source- PIB