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Current Affairs – 8 January 2021

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An Indian gift helps Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 fight


  1. The free ambulance service, launched in 2016 by India, proves crucial in the Sri Lanka’s response to the COVID-19 virus.
  2. The 4th meeting under Joint Working Group (JWG) on fisheries was also held recently between the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of India and Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka to find a permanent solution to the fishermen issue.


  1. 56 million USD grant was provided by India for the Suwa Seriya [vehicle or journey for good health] service.
  2. It was launched on a pilot basis, which was later extended throughout the country with additional grants from India.
  3. It is India’s second largest grant project to Sri Lanka after the housing project of more than 60,000 houses, with a nearly 400 million USD grant.
  4. India also helped with Capacity Building by providing training and refresher programmes for Sri Lankan emergency medical technicians which further generated employment for the local population.

Why Sri Lanka is important for India?

  1. Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean region has been of strategic geopolitical relevance to India.
  2. It has a list of highly strategic ports located among busiest sea lanes of communication.
  3. It is a member of regional groupings like SAARC and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) in which India plays a leading role.
  4. It is one of India’s largest trading partners among the SAARC countries. India in turn is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner globally.


Emission norms deadline


  1. India’s power ministry has proposed pushing back the deadlines for adoption of new emission norms by coal-fired power plants, stating that “an unworkable time schedule” would burden utilities and lead to an increase in power tariffs.However, a final decision will have to be approved by the Supreme Court


  1. India initially had set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to comply with emissions standards for installing Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of toxic sulphur dioxide. This was later changed to varying deadlines for different regions, ending in 2022.
  2. Ministry of Power has proposed a “graded action plan,” whereby areas where plants are located would be graded according to the severity of pollution, with Region 1 referring to critically polluted areas, and Region 5 being the least polluted.
  3. The target should be to maintain uniform ambient air quality across the country and not uniform emission norms for thermal power plants.
  4. This could avoid immediate increase in power price in various relatively clean areas of the country (and) avoid unnecessary burden on power utilities/consumers.
Flue Gas Desulphurisation (FED):

  1. Removal of Sulfur Dioxide. It seeks to remove gaseous pollutants viz. SO2 from exhaust flue gases generated in furnaces, boilers, and other industrial processes due to thermal processing, treatment, and combustion.


Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1,India Report


  1. Union Ministry for Health & Family Welfare released INDIA REPORT on Longitudinal Ageing Study of India (LASI) Wave-1 today on the virtual platform.


  1. LASI is a full–scale national survey of scientific investigation of the health, economic, and social determinants and consequences of population ageing in India.
  2. The National Programme for Health Care of Elderly, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has undertaken the Longitudinal Ageing Study of India, through International Institute for Population Sciences, (IIPS), Mumbai in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, University of Southern California, USA, Dte.GHS, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Institute on Ageing.
  3. It is India’s first and the world’s largest ever survey that provides a longitudinal database for designing policies and programmes for the older population in the broad domains of social, health, and economic well-being.
  4. The LASI has embraced state-of-the-art large-scale survey protocols and field implementation strategies including representative sample of India and its States, socioeconomic spectrum, an expansive topical focus, a longitudinal design, and the use of Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) technology for data collection, quality control, and Geographic Information System (GIS).
  5. A unique feature of LASI is the coverage of comprehensive biomarkers. No other survey in India collects detailed data on health and biomarkers together with information on family and social network, income, assets, and consumption.
  6. It collects detailed data on health and biomarkers together with information on family and social network, income, assets, and consumption.


  1. Around 23 per cent of the elderly population (age 60 years and above) have multi-morbidities; elderly women are more likely to have multi-morbidity conditions.
  2. The results of the survey encapsulated data from more than 42,000 households, covering over 72,000 older adults across all states and union territories except Sikkim.
  3. Self-reported presence of major chronic health conditions and multi-morbidities among those aged 45 and above increased with age.
  4. The chronic health conditions are pronounced among those aged 75 and above and are dominated by cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and hypertension.
  5. The percentage of people without morbidity consistently declined with age. About 73 per cent of the population below age 45 are found to be having no morbid conditions and this share is reduced to 44 per cent in the age group 75 and above. The decline, however, is slower from age 60 onward.
  6. One fifth of the population below 45 years had a single morbid condition and amongst the oldest old, one out of every three possessed a morbid condition.
  7. A tenth of the people in the age group 45-49 had multi-morbidity while 26 per cent among the elderly of age 70-74 have these conditions. However, this reduced by two percentage points for the next age group of 75-79.
  8. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the most prominent among those above 45.
  9. Bone or joint diseases and diabetes are also observed to be high among the elderly.
  10. Chronic lung diseases show a fluctuating pattern with rise in age. Neurological or psychiatric conditions constitute small part of the morbid conditions found among the elderly and the rate sees a noticeable rise after age 74.
  11. Share of people living with cancer was only around 0.7 per cent among the senior citizens. The prevalence of high cholesterol and stroke among the same demographic is about 2.5 and 2.7 per cent respectively.
  12. By 2030, 45 per cent of the total burden of diseases, majorly non-communicable, is expected to be borne by the old-age population. Adequate investment in elderly healthcare and efficacious policies and their timely management are thus imperative.


  1. The evidence from LASI will be used to further strengthen and broaden the scope of National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly and also help in establishing a range of preventive and health care programmes for older population and most vulnerable among them.
  2. This report will provide base for national and state level programmes and policies for elderly population.
  3. LASI data shall assist in addressing the broad aims of the Decade of Healthy Ageing and will lead to convergence within various national health programs and also promote inter-sectoral coordination with other line Departments/Ministries.
  4. For the best medical care to elderly, India has one of the ambitious programme of the world, Ayushman Bharat Yojana which focuses on expansion of the healthcare facilities.


Antarctic ozone hole


  1. According to World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the annually occurring ozone hole over the Antarctic had rapidly grown from mid-August and peaked at around 24 million square kilometres — one of the largest so far — in early October 2020.


  1. The expansion of the hole was driven by a strong, stable and cold polar vortex and very cold temperatures in the stratosphere. The same meteorological factors also contributed to the record 2020 Arctic ozone hole, which has also closed.
    • A polar vortex is a wide expanse of swirling cold air, a low pressure area, in polar regions. During winters, the polar vortex at the North Pole expands, sending cold air southward.
    • An ozone hole is the thinning of the ozone layer boosted in size by colder temperatures.
  1. As the temperatures high up in the stratosphere starts to rise, ozone depletion slows, the polar vortex weakens and breaks down. By the end of December, ozone levels return to normal. This time around, however, the process took longer.
  2. The formation of ozone hole in the Antarctic has been an annual occurrence and has been recorded for the last 40 years.
  3. Human-made chemicals migrate into the stratosphere and accumulate inside the polar vortex. It begins to shrink in size as warmer temperatures dominate.
  4. The 2020 Antarctic hole was unprecedented as the polar vortex kept the temperature of the ozone layer cold, preventing the mixing of ozone depleted air above Antarctica with ozone rich air from higher latitudes.

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