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In News:

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) also asked traders to suggest appropriate HS codes for products imported by them which do not have any classification and fall under the ‘others’ category.

In brief:

  • Every traded product is categorised under an HSN code (harmonised system of nomenclature) the global systematic classification of goods.
  • HSN stands for ‘Harmonized System Nomenclature.’ Developed by WCO (World Customs Organization)

What is HSN code?

It is a multipurpose international product nomenclature that first came into effect in 1988 with the vision of facilitating the classification of goods all over the World in a systematic manner.

How does it work?

  • HSN is a six-digit code that classifies more than 5000 products, arranged in a legal and logical structure.
  • To achieve uniform classification, the HSN is supported by well-defined rules and is accepted worldwide.
  • HSN classification is widely used for taxation purposes by helping to identify the rate of tax applicable to a specific product in a country that is under review. It can also be used in calculations that involve claiming benefits.
  • The HSN code aids in determining the quantity of all items imported or traded through a nation.

Indian Passport Ranked 84th In The World

In News:

Indian passport has been ranked 84th in the list of world’s most powerful passports in a recent report released by Henley & Partners.

In Brief:

  • Indian passport holders can visit 58 countries without prior visa. India shared the rank with Mauritania and Tajikistan.
  • Indian passport holders can travel visa-free to 58 destinations like Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Macao, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iran and Qatar.
  • Japan continued to top list as it got the first rank. It grants visa-free access to 191 countries. The UK and US passports were among the top 10 powerful passports as they shared 8th rank.
  • Afghanistan passport got the last position, and came out as the world’s worst passport. Pakistan, on the other hand, got fourth-last rank.
  • Nigeria’s passport ranked 199th as the weakest passport in the world.
  • The top 10 countries are:
    • 1. Japan: 191 countries
    • 2. Singapore: 190 countries
    • 3. Germany and South Korea: 189 countries
    • 4. Finland and Italy: 188 countries
    • 5. Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain: 187 countries
    • 6. France and Sweden: 186 countries
    • 7. Austria, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland: 185 countries
    • 8. Belgium, Greece, Norway, UK and USA: 184 countries
    • 9. Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Malta and New Zealand: 183
    • 10. Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia: 181.

Corona Virus: A New Stain Of Virus Found In China

In News:

  • It is a new virus identified by Chinese researchers. It was responsible for a new
    pneumonia-like illness that had swept Wuhan since last month, leaving 59 ill
    and created panic.
  • Two persons died so far due to pneumonia caused by a new virus. The Chinese
    scientists discovered that the new strain of virus is that of the corona virus.

About News:

  • Chinese scientists identified the illness as a new strain of coronavirus, which is in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
  • Symptoms of coronaviruses can range from fever and coughing to kidney failure, and in some cases lead to death.
  • Currently, 41 cases of the new coronavirus have been reported in Wuhan, central China’s largest city.
  • Five of those patients are in serious condition while 12 have been discharged after treatment, local health authorities said.
  • Health officials said he suffered from abnormal renal function, inflammation of the heart muscle and severe damage to multiple organ functions. Scans also showed lung damage with possible tuberculosis.
  • The virus might have been transmitted to humans from animals, just like SARS and MERS.

About Corona Virus:

  • Coronaviruses are a specific family of viruses, some causes the common cold, and others causing respiratory and intestinal diseases.
  • A coronavirus has many “regularly arranged” protrusions on its surface, because of which the entire virus particle looks like an emperor’s crown, hence the name “coronavirus”.
  • It also affect mammals including pigs, cattle, cats, dogs, martens, camels, hedgehogs and some birds.
  • Corona Viruses were first found in humans in 1960s. They have great genetic variability, meaning, they can over come barriers between different species
  • According to the WHO, the outbreak in Wuhan in less virulent.

The First Case Of Rare H9N2 Virus Detected In Maharashtra

In News:

  • Avian influenza or Bird flu caused by a rare variety of H9N2 virus has been reported in a 17-month-old boy of Maharashtra. The infection is caused by a rare variety of H9N2 virus, which is a subtype of the influenza A virus that leads to human influenza as well as bird flu.
  • The report was revealed in the December 2019 issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by scientists of the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

About News:

  • The scientists of the NIV detected the presence of the virus in February 2019 during a community-based surveillance study in some villages of Melghat district of Maharashtra.
  • The scientists conducting a series of laboratory test on the virus confirmed the presence of A (H9N2) virus.
  • As per NIV scientists, H9N2 viruses have been witnessed in Indian poultry several times, but for the first time, a human case has come up. This infection is mostly transmitted by air droplet, dust, feed, or water.
  • The first-ever case of H9N2 virus was reported from Hong Kong in 1998. After this, several cases were also reported in Hong Kong, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt.
  • The recent case of infection on a human was reported from Oman. However, China and Hong Kong are majorly affected by this influenza viruses.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), with avian influenza viruses circulating in poultry, there is a risk for sporadic infection and small clusters of human cases due to exposure to infected poultry or contaminated environments. Therefore, sporadic human cases are not unexpected.

Bird Flu In India

In September 2019, India has been declared free from Avian Influenza (H5N1), which has also been notified to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).Hence there is no presence of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Virus. India was last declared free of the disease in 2017.

About Avian Influenza:

  • Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), as well as pet birds and wild birds.
  • Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.
  • Influenza A viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA).
  • Avian influenza virus subtypes include A(H5N1), A(H7N9), and A(H9N2).
  • HPAI A(H5N1) virus occurs mainly in birds and is highly contagious among them.
  • HPAI Asian H5N1 is especially deadly for poultry.


  • India and Japan Coast Guard conducted 15th edition of ‘Sahyog-Kaijin’ joint exercise in the Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast on Friday.