14 April Current Affairs
April 14, 2020
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April 16, 2020
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15 April Current Affairs

Covid-19 Affects Odisha’s Art and Festival

In News:

Recently, Odisha’s Ganjam district administration banned the Meru Jatra festival and congregations related to it at temples on the occasion of Mahavishub Sankranti (13th April, 2020), due to Covid-19.

Covid-19 has also affected the sale of Pattachitra paintings.

Meru Jatra Festival:

Meru Jatra marks the end of the 21-day-long festival of penance named ‘Danda Nata’.

Danda Nata is celebrated in the month of ‘Chaitra’.

Danda as the name implies, is self-inflicted pain, which the danduas (people who participate in the festival) undergo to pay their obeisance to the lord Kali. It is also a form of worshipping the lord Shiva and his consort Parvati.

The origin of the festival is generally traced to 8th and 9th AD after the decadence of Buddhism in Orissa.

On the occasion of Mahavishub Sankranti thousands of devotees used to gather at the Tara Tarini hill shrine and other temples.

Mahavishub Sankranti is the start of the Odia New Year.

Earlier, the administrations had also banned the famous Chaitra Jatra festival at Tara Tarini hill shrine as a precautionary measure against Covid-19 infection.

Pattachitra Painting:

Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of Odisha.

The name Pattachitra has evolved from the Sanskrit words Patta, meaning canvas, and Chitra, meaning picture. Pattachitra is done on canvas and is manifested by rich colourful application, creative motifs and designs, and portrayal of simple themes, mostly mythological in depiction.

Some of the popular themes represented through this art form are Thia Badhia – depiction of the temple of Jagannath; Krishna Lila – enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child; Dasabatara Patti – the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu; Panchamukhi – depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity.

Bharat Padhe Online and YUKTI Portal: MHRD

In News:

Recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has launched two new initiatives – Bharat Padhe Online Campaign and YUKTI web-portal – for improving and monitoring the online education ecosystem in India.

  1. A) Bharat Padhe Online

‘Bharat Padhe Online’ is a week-long campaign upto 16th April, 2020 for crowdsourcing of ideas for improving the online education ecosystem of India.

It aims to invite all the best brains in India to share suggestions/solutions directly with the HRD Ministry to overcome constraints of online education while promoting the available digital education platforms.

Students and teachers are the main target audience in it.

  1. B) YUKTI Portal

YUKTI (Young India Combating Covid with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation) is a unique portal and dashboard to monitor and record the efforts and initiatives of MHRD.

It will also cover the various initiatives and efforts of the institutions in academics, research especially related to Covid-19, social initiatives by institutions and the measures taken for the betterment of the total wellbeing of the students.

It will allow various institutions to share their strategies for various challenges which are there because of the unprecedented situation of Covid-19 and other future initiatives.

The portal will also establish a two-way communication channel between the Ministry of HRD and the institutions so that the Ministry can provide the necessary support system to the institutions.

This portal will help in addressing critical issues related to student promotion policies, placements related challenges and physical and mental well-being of students in these challenging times.

Objectives: The portal will give inputs for better planning and will enable it to monitor effectively its activities for coming six months.

It aims to fulfil the goals of the Ministry in the wake of Covid-19 to keep the academic community healthy, both physically & mentally and to enable a continuous high-quality learning environment for learners.

Release Prisoners Due to Covid-19

In News:

Recently, the Supreme Court passed orders in a suo motu hearing on measures taken to decongest prisons, correction homes and detention centres due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Key Points:

Earlier, the Bench had ordered the States and the Union Territories to set up special committees to examine the cases of prisoners and shortlist those who could be granted bail or parole.

The SC ordered not to release prisoners on interim bail or parole who test positive for Covid-19.

The court ordered to release prisoners or detenus who have been under detention for two years in the foreigners’ detention centres in Assam on account of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The court modified its May 2019 order to allow these detenus to furnish a bond of Rs. 5,000 instead of Rs. 1 lakh. The Court also asked them to furnish two Indian citizens as sureties.

The central government objected to their release on the grounds that they will mix with the local population again

The Court ordered that appropriate tests for Covid-19 should be conducted on prisoners scheduled for release.

In case a prisoner who has been released is suffering from coronavirus after the release, he/she shall be put in an appropriate quarantine facility by the concerned authorities.

The court directed that transportation of prisoners would be done in full compliance of the rules and norms of social distancing.

Rongali Bihu

In News:

For the first time, Assam is celebrating Bohag or Rongali Bihu without rong (meaning merriment), because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Key Points:

Bihu is the main festival of Assam. It is celebrated three times a year.

Rongali or Bohag Bihu is observed in April. Kongali or Kati Bihu observed in October and Bhogali or Magh Bihu observed in January.

Rongali or Bohag Bihu is the Assamese new year and spring festival. The Rongali Bihu coincides with Sikh New Year- Baisakhi.

The Bohag Bihu dates are April 13 to April 21. It is a harvest or sowing festival. It marks the first day of the Hindu solar calendar and is also observed in Bengal, Manipur, Mithila, Nepal, Orissa, Punjab, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Festive food – pitha (rice cake) and larus (traditional food made of rice, coconut) are prepared.

Men and women in traditional Muga silk (golden silk) attires dance to the rhythm of Bihu tunes and beatings of the bihu dhol (traditional drum) across the State.

Bihu dance is Assam’s most popular folk dance.

The traditional gamocha woven on handlooms is offered as bihuwan to one’s near and dear and also to guests.

The gamosa’s graph as a symbol of protest rose during the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation from 1979 to 1985.

Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s 129th Birth Anniversary

In News:

Dr. B R Ambedkar’s Birth Anniversary is observed every year on 14th April.

Key Points :-

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was born in 1891 in Mhow, Central Province (now Madhya Pradesh).

He is known as the Father of the Indian Constitution and was India’s first Law Minister.

He was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the new Constitution.

Dr. Ambedkar was a social reformer, jurist, economist, author, polyglot (knowing or using several languages) orator, a scholar and thinker of comparative religions.

He led the Mahad Satyagraha in March 1927 against Hindus who were opposing the decision of the Municipal Board.

In 1926, Municipal Board of Mahad (Maharashtra) passed an order to throw open the tank to all communities. Earlier, the untouchables were not allowed to use water from the Mahad tank.

He participated in all three Round Table Conferences.

In 1932 Dr. Ambedkar signed the Poona pact with Mahatma Gandhi, which abandoned the idea of separate electorates for the depressed classes (Communal Award).

However, the seats reserved for the depressed classes were increased from 71 to 147 in provincial legislatures and to 18% of the total in the Central Legislature.

His ideas before the Hilton Young Commission served as the foundation of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

His ideas before the Hilton Young Commission served as the foundation of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

In 1936, he was elected to the Bombay Legislative Assembly as a legislator (MLA).

He was appointed to the Executive Council of Viceroy as a Labour member in 1942.

In 1947, Dr. Ambedkar accepted PM Nehru’s invitation to become Minister of Law in the first Cabinet of independent India.

He resigned from the cabinet in 1951, over differences on the Hindu Code Bill.

He converted to Buddhism. He passed away on 6th December 1956. Chaitya Bhoomi is a memorial to B. R. Ambedkar, located in Mumbai.

World Chagas Disease Day

In News:

On April 14, 2020, World Chagas Disease Day is being observed for the first time. The day is observed to spread awareness about this “silent and silenced disease”. The 72nd World Health Assembly approved the designation of Chagas Disease Day on May 24, 2019.

Why it is called the “silent and silenced disease”?

The Chagas disease is called silent because it progresses slowly, and silenced because it mainly affects the poor people who often lack political voice and proper health care.

About the disease:

The disease got its name from Dr Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, who diagnosed the first patient with the disease in Brazil on April 14, 1909.

It is classified as a neglected tropical disease (NTD), meaning it affects the low-income populations in developing countries across the globe.

Also called the American trypanosomiasis, this vector-borne disease hits the most poverty-stricken communities, especially in Latin America.

How is it transmitted?

A parasitic protozoan called Trypanosoma cruzi that causes this vector-borne disease is usually transmitted by faeces and urine of triatomine bugs or kissing bugs, which belongs to the family of assassin bugs.

The disease can also be transmitted by contaminated food, organ transplantations, blood or blood products transfusion, and infected mothers to newborn.

Lack of awareness and neglecting the symptoms, especially among poor households, results in much severe symptoms and even death.

The symptoms of the disease come in two phases:

Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, difficulty in breathing, abdominal or chest pain and enlarged lymph glands.

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