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In news:

  • The number of people who died of asphyxia while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the country increased by almost 62% in 2019 compared to 2018.
  • Total of 62,904 manual scavengers had been identified across the country till January 31, 2020.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013:

  • Under Section 5, the violators could be convicted with imprisonment for up to two years or fined Rs 1 lakh or both.
  • The act prohibits the employment of manual scavengers, the manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks without protective equipment, and the construction of insanitary latrines.
  • Offences under the Bill shall be cognizable and non-bailable.
  • The District Magistrate and the local authority shall be the implementing authorities.

WHO Warns Of Coronavirus

In news:

  • China’s coronavirus outbreak poses a “very grave threat for the rest of the world”, according to the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) TedrosAdhanomGhebreyesus.
  • To date China has reported 42,708 confirmed cases, including 1,017 deaths.

In brief:

  • Many questions remain about the origin of the virus, which emerged at a wildlife market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
  • Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
  • They are zoonotic – transmitted between animals and people. It is spread by people in droplets from coughing or sneezing.
  • There are no confirmed reports of person-to-person transmission. Symptoms:
    • fever,
    • cough,
    • shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
    • Pneumonia
  • There is no vaccine to protect against this family of viruses.

Trump Confirms India Visit On Feb 24,25

In News:

US President Donald Trump will make his first official visit to India from Feb 24-25

In Brief:

  • The trip will further strengthen the US-India strategic partnership and highlight the strong and enduring bonds between the American and Indian people.
  • Trump will be the fourth consecutive US president to visit India since Bill Clinton’s trip in 2000. Clinton’s successor, George H.W. Bush, visited in 2006 and Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, came twice in 2010 and 2015.
  • A public event along the lines of ‘Howdy Modi’ would take place during the Gujarat leg of Trump’s visit to India.

Centre Not To Detain Children Left Out Of NRC

In News:

The government has decided not to send to detention children who were excluded from the NRC in Assam but whose parents were included.

In Brief:

  • Union Minister of State for Home approved standard operating procedures for disposal of claims and objections had a specific provision for children left out of the NRC.
  • The NRC was carried out in Assam under the supervision of the Supreme Court, and around 19 lakh people were left out of the final list published in August 2019.
  • Those excluded could challenge the decision before the Foreigners’ Tribunals. The State NRC Coordinator is yet to issue certified copies of exclusion to the applicants and the process of challenging the order is yet to begin.

Bill To Include More Tribes In ST Category

In News:

Parliament on recently passed a bill to include more tribal communities in Karnataka in the Scheduled Tribe category.

In Brief:

  • The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in Lok Sabha by voice vote recently, while Rajya Sabha has already approved it in the previous session.
  • It seeks to include Parivara and Talawara tribal communities in the ST category to ensure they get reservation and other benefits provided by the government.
  • Siddi tribes of Belagavi, Dharwad would also be included in the ST category apart from those living in Uttar Kannada districts.The amendments have been made in the list of STs in Karnataka