Current Affairs in Short: 22 April 2020
The Pune Municipal Corporation has launched “Saiyam” mobile application to monitor citizens on home quarantine.
Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan: Gujarat launches third phase till June 10
• Gujarat government on April 21, 2020 launched the third phase of “Sujalam Sufalam Jal Abhiyan” to deepen the water bodies in the state before the monsoon amid COVID-19 lockdown.
• The scheme will continue till June 10, 2020. During this time, the state government will undertake 14,694 works related to MNREGA and water conservation.
• The state has allocated a sum worth Rs 414 crore for the water conservation projects being undertaken in every district.
• The scheme was first launched in 2018 by Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani to create a water-grid, on the lines of power-grid, for the reuse of the treated waste water from urban areas.
Saiyam mobile app launched to track home quarantine citizens
• The Pune Municipal Corporation on April 21, 2020 launched “Saiyam” mobile application to monitor citizens on home quarantine.
• All those directed to be under home quarantine in the city will be required to download the application. The app has GPS tracking technology, which will help track the movement of the people and alert the local administration in case they leave their homes.
• The mobile app uses colour code to monitor the citizens. Red colour code indicates that the person has stayed out for a long duration, Yellow indicates that the person has made limited movements, while green indicates that the person has confined himself or herself within the house.
China dismisses US lawsuit against it calling it as ‘nothing short of absurdity'
• China on April 22, 2020 dismissed the US lawsuit filed against it for suppressing COVID-19 information saying that it is “nothing short of absurdity”.
• The lawsuit filed by the US state of Missouri in the US District Court against the Chinese government alleges that China suppressed information related to COVID-19, denied its contagious nature and arrested whistle-blowers, causing major loss of life and "irreparable damage" to the world.
• The petition alleges that during the initial stage of the outbreak, the Chinese government did not reveal the correct information, deceived the public, denied the possibility of human-to-human transmission and destroyed critical medical research, permitting millions of people to be exposed to the deadly virus.
• China has also been accused of hoarding up Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable. The lawsuit seeks relief on the account of breach of duty, abnormally dangerous activities and count of public nuisance.
Government reduces subsidy for non-urea fertilisers
• The central government on April 22, 2020 reduced the subsidy on non-urea fertilisers. The decision was taken during the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
• The move would reduce the burden on the exchequer to Rs 22,186.55 crore in this fiscal amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
• The subsidy for nitrogen has been slashed to Rs 18.78 per kg, potash to Rs 10.11 per kg, phosphorous to Rs 14.88 per kg and sulphur to Rs 2.37 per kg for the current fiscal year.
Spain arrests one of Europe's most-wanted Islamic State fighters
• The Spanish government announced recently that its police has arrested one of Europe's most wanted fugitive Islamic State (IS) fighters in the southern town of Almeria.
• The IS fighter, an Egyptian, who has allegedly fought in both Iraq and Syria, was found hiding in an apartment with two others.
• The three militants reportedly had come to Spain through North Africa and were keeping a low profile during the coronavirus lockdown, exiting the apartment one-by-one and wearing protective masks.
National Botanical Research Institute develops herbal, alcohol-based santizer
• The National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) has developed a herbal, alcohol-based sanitizer to fulfil the growing demand for sanitizers amid coronavirus outbreak.
• The product was developed under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Aroma Mission, as per WHO guidelines.
• The herbal sanitizer comprises 60 percent of isopropyl alcohol for killing germs and Tulsi essential oil as the herbal constituent, which serves as a strong yet natural antimicrobial agent.
• The sanitizer has been clinically tested and was found to be extremely effective against surface microbes. It prevents skin from dehydrating and its impact lasts for about 25 minutes. It will be made available in the market soon under the name “Clean Hand Gel”.