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PIB 13th May 2021

CONTENTS

  1. PM CARES – FUND 
  2. INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY
  3. MUCORMYCOSIS
  4. OPERATION SAMUDRA SETU II
  5. SOVERIGN GOLD BOND SCHEME

PM CARES – FUND 

Focus: Welfare schemes for vulnerable Sections

Why in News?

PM-CARES Fund has accorded sanction for procurement of 1,50,000 units of Oxycare System at a cost of Rs 322.5 Crore.

  •  It is a comprehensive system developed by DRDO to regulate oxygen being administrated to patients based on the sensed values of their SpO2 levels.

About PM CARES – FUND

  • The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created on 28 March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
  • The fund will be used for combating, and containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future. 
  • Although the documentation for the constitution of the fund has not been made public, the Government of India has stated that the Prime Minister of India is the chairman of the fund, and that trustees include the Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance in the Government of India.
  • The PM CARES Fund has faced criticism for the lack of transparency and accountability in relation to its establishment, functioning, and accounts.
  • The total amount of funds donated and the names of donors have not been publicly disclosed, and the fund is privately audited.
  • The Government of India has initially claimed that the fund is a private fund, and denied that the PM CARES Fund is a public fund for the purposes of transparency laws such as the Right to Information Act 2005, even though the Fund uses government infrastructure and the national emblem of the Government of India.
  • In December 2020, the Government of India reversed its stance and admitted that the PM CARES Fund was a public fund, but still refused to disclose information regarding it under the Right to Information Act 2005.
  • There are currently several ongoing cases at the Supreme Court of India and several High Courts in relation to the Fund.

About Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund(PMNRF)

  • Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) in India is the fund raised to provide support for people affected by natural and man made disasters.
  • Natural disasters covered under this include flood, cyclone, earthquake etc. Man made disasters include major accidents, acid attacks, riots etc.
  • The fund is also allotted to the people for treatment like cancer, kidney transplantation, heart surgery etc.
  • The fund was first consolidated during the time of the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Difference between PMCARES and PMNRF in the below table;-
PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund)PM CARES Fund [Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund]
PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) was established in January 1948.PM CARES Fund was established on 27th March 2020.
PMNRF was established by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru.The PM CARES Fund was established by the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.
The initial purpose of establishing PMNRF (Prime Minister National Relief Fund) was to help the people displaced due to partition of India and Pakistan.The PM CARES fund was established with the objective of helping people affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
Chairman of the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is the Prime Minister of India. Other members are from Tata Trusts, representatives of FICCI, Congress President.Chairman of the PM-CARES fund is the Prime Minister of India. The Prime Minister has the power to nominate members. The other members of the PM CARES Fund are the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
The minimum amount one can donate in the Prime Minister National Relief Fund (PMNRF) is Rs 100.PM CARES Fund allows option for Micro donation, one can donate as low as Rs 10 in the PM CARES Fund.
PMNRF focuses on all kinds of natural disasters and calamities like Cyclones, Earthquakes, Floods, Tsunamis etc. The PMNRF funds are also utilized for acid attack victims, cancer treatments, kidney transplants etc.PM CARES fund is exclusively used for COVID-19 purposes.
The Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), which was set up in 1948, is not audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG)CARES Fund is not being audited by the CAG, and is being audited by a private party appointed directly by the Government of India instead.

INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • The International Nurses Day 2021 marks the 201st anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

International Nurses Day

  • International Nurses Day is a celebration on the 12th of May every year to commemorate the anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
  • Florence Nightingale is considered to be the founder of modern nursing.
  • 2021 Theme: “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A vision for future healthcare”.
Significance of the day
  • Nurses account for more than half of all the world’s health workers. It will encourage the entire nurse community and the public to celebrate the day as well as would provide necessary information and resources to raise the profile of the nursing profession.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the vital role nurses play. Without nurses and other health workers, it is not possible to win the battle against outbreaks
Florence Nightingale
  • Florence Nightingale was a British social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.
  • She is famously known as “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
  • Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War.
  • Much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge.

MUCORMYCOSIS

Focus: GS II- Health

Why in news?

A sudden increase in demand has been observed in some states for Amphotericin B which is being actively prescribed by the physicians to patients suffering from Mucormycosis, a post COVID complication.

About Mucormycosis:

  • Black Fungus or Mucormycosis, previously called zygomycosis, is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes which exist in the environment.
  • The disease is often characterized by hyphae growing in and around blood vessels and can be potentially life-threatening in diabetic or severely immunocompromised individuals.
  • Mucormycosis mainly affects people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.
  • Mucormycosis causes loss of eyesight, removal of the nose and jaw bone, and 50 per cent mortality in cases where it affects the brain — within 15 days.
  • The symptoms in general are face numbness, one-side nose obstructions or swelling of eyes, or pain – affected skin may appear relatively normal during the earliest stages of infection, however, this skin quickly becomes reddened and may be swollen before eventually turning black due to tissue death.
  • Other forms of mucormycosis may involve the lungs, skin, or be widespread throughout the body; symptoms may also include difficulty breathing, and persistent cough.
Mucormycetes
  • Mucormycetes, the group of fungi that cause mucormycosis, are present throughout the environment, particularly in soil and in association with decaying organic matter, such as leaves, compost piles, and animal dung.
  • Several different types of fungi can cause mucormycosis and belong to the scientific order Mucorales.
  • The most common types that cause mucormycosis are Rhizopus species and Mucor species.
  • They are more common in soil than in air, and in summer and fall than in winter or spring.
  • These fungi are not harmful to most people but for people who have weakened immune systems, breathing in micromycetes spores can cause an infection.
Amphotericin B (AmB)
  • It is a polyene antifungal antibiotic that causes damage to fungal and host cells by altering cell membrane permeability.
  • Amphotericin B appears as deep yellow prisms.
  • It is a yellow to orange, odourless, or practically odourless, powder.

OPERATION SAMUDRA SETU II

Focus: GS II- International Relations

Why in news?

Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu-II to augment the ongoing national mission for meeting the Oxygen requirements.

Key takeaways
  • Mission deployed Indian Naval warships will undertake shipment of liquid Oxygen filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment in support of India’s  fight against COVID-19.
  • Two ships INS Kolkata and INS Talwar have entered port of Manama, Bahrain for embarking and transporting 40MT of liquid oxygen to Mumbai. 
  • INS Jalashwa is enroute to Bangkok and INS Airavat to Singapore for similar missions.
  • Last year Indian Navy had launched Operation Samudra Setu as part of the Vande Bharat Mission and repatriated approx 4,000 stranded and distressed Indian citizens from Maldives, Sri Lanka and Iran.
Operation Samudra Setu
  • The Indian Navy has launched ‘Operation Samudra Setu’ as a part of national effort to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
  • This operation is being progressed in close coordination with Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Health and various other agencies of the Government of India and State governments.
  • INS Jalashwa and INS Magar are being operated as part of efforts to repatriate Indian nationals from foreign shores.
  • INS Jalashwa is the largest amphibious platform in the Navy.
Vande Bharat Mission
  • Vande Bharat Mission became the biggest evacuation exercise to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad amidst the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.
  • ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ will see 64 flights being operated to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad.
  • Air India and its subsidiary Air India Express will operate 64 flights to bring back stranded Indians from 12 countries.
  • The mission has given priority to Indian citizens with “compelling reasons to return” – like those whose employment have been terminated, those whose visas have expired and not expected to be renewed under the present circumstances and those who have lost family members in recent times.
  • The entire cost of travel will be borne by the passengers under the mission.

SOVERIGN GOLD BOND SCHEME

Focus: GS II- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Why in News?

The Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds. 

About Soverign Gold Bond Scheme (SGB)

  • The Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme was introduced in the Union Budget 2015-16 by the Union Cabinet which was chaired by PM Narendra Modi.
  • It was launched to reduce the demand for physical gold and with an aim to invest a part of these physicals gold bars and coins that are purchased every year into financial savings in the form of gold bonds.
  • Investors have to pay the issue price in cash and the bonds will be redeemed in cash on maturity.
  • The Bond is issued by Reserve Bank on behalf of Government of India.
  • Government introduced these bonds to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports.
  • The move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.
  • The bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities, including individuals, Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs), trusts, universities and charitable institutions.
  • The bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
  • The tenor will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from the 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
  • The minimum permissible investment limit will be 1 gram of gold, while the maximum limit will be 4 kg for individual, 4 kg for HUF and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the government from time to time.
  • In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 4 kg will be applied to the first applicant only.
  • Bonds can be used as collateral for loans.
  • The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
Benefits of Soverign Gold Bond
  • As a low-risk investment, it is perfect for investors with low-risk appetite.
  • Compared to physical gold, the cost to purchase or sell SGBs is quite low.
  • The expense of buying or selling the SGB is also nominal in comparison to the physical gold.
  • The gold bonds can be availed either in paper or in demat form as per the convenience of an individual.
  • The gold bonds invested by the Investors can be gifted or transferred to others who are eligible under the scheme.
  • They can also trade these bonds on stock exchanges subject to notifications of the Reserve Bank of India.
  • These Gold bonds can be purchased through multiple payment modes such as cheques, cash, DDs or electronic transfer.

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