NPR slips valid for long-term visas
Union Home Ministry has clarified that migrants belonging to six non-Muslim minority communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, while applying for long-term visas (LTVs), can also produce National Population Register (NPR) enrolment slips as proof of the duration of their stay in India.
The NPR number is part of an illustrative list of more than 10 documents that could be provided to apply for an LTV, which is a precursor to acquiring Indian citizenship either by naturalisation or registration under Section 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, for the six communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from the three countries.
The special provision of LTVs for Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan and Afghanistan was first made in 2011.
What are LTVs?
For foreigners of non-Indian origin, a longer-term visa is classed as one that permits the holder to stay in India for longer than 180 days (six months) continuously. The main visas that provide this are the Employment, Entry and Student visas.
Benefits of LTV:
People belonging to minority communities from neighbouring countries having LTVs are allowed to purchase a small house for their family and can even establish a business.
They are eligible to obtain Aadhaar card, PAN card and driving licences. The LTV also allows them to buy property.
What is NPR?
The NPR was first compiled in 2010 simultaneously with the decadal Census exercise and later updated in 2015.
The NPR is a register of usual residents linked with location particulars down to the village level and is updated periodically “to incorporate the changes due to birth, death and migration”.
The next phase of the NPR, expected to include contentious questions on date and place of birth of father and mother, last place of residence and mother tongue.
The next phase was to be simultaneously updated with the 2021 House Listing and Housing Census but has been indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acquisition and Determination of Indian Citizenship:
There are four ways in which Indian citizenship can be acquired: birth, descent, registration and naturalisation. The provisions are listed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Citizenship can also be acquired by registration. Some of the mandatory rules are:
A person can acquire citizenship by naturalisation if he/she is ordinarily resident of India for 12 years (throughout 12 months preceding the date of application and 11 years in the aggregate) and fulfils all qualifications in the third schedule of the Citizenship Act.
Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA):
The amendment provides that the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, will not be treated as illegal migrants.
For these groups of persons, the 11 years’ requirement will be reduced to five years.
Education index ranking
The Ministry of Education has released the Performance Grading Index for 2019-20.
About the Performance Grading Index:
PGI is a tool to grade all States and UTs on their performance across 70 indicators on school education.
First published in 2019 with reference year 2017-18.
The Indicators have been grouped into 2 Categories – Outcomes and Governance & Management with 4 Domains under the first category and 1 under the second.
Objective: To encourage States & UTs to adopt best practices like online recruitment and transfer of teachers, electronic attendance of students & teachers.
Significance: Grading system assists the States & UTs to identify gaps and design appropriate interventions to bridge them.
Punjab, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Kerala occupy the highest grade A++ in 2019-20.
Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli are in the A+ category.
Punjab has scored the maximum points for governance and management.
Bihar and Meghalaya have scored the lowest in terms of infrastructure and facilities.
More antibodies produced by Covishield than Covaxin: study
A study was conducted recently to study the real-world effectiveness of vaccination in India. It was conducted on healthcare workers (HCW).
For the study, 515 healthcare workers from 13 States and covering 22 cities were evaluated from January to May 2021.
Covishield vaccine produced more antibodies than Covaxin.
Seropositivity rates to anti-spike antibodies were significantly higher in Covishield recipients compared to Covaxin after the first dose.
Responder rate and median (IQR) rise in anti-spike antibody were significantly higher in Covishield vs. Covaxin recipient.
What are vaccines?
Vaccines train our immune system to fight a disease-causing agent, which has not yet affected a person. They prepare the body for future protection.
How do they work?
Vaccines are known to have a component called antigen, which is usually a part of the pathogen against which the vaccine is being developed.
The role of antigen, once inside the human body, is to activate the immune system in order to develop protective antibodies, without having any ability to cause the full-fledged disease.
This way, once a person is fully vaccinated, he or she develops antibodies and remains protected.
Covishield vs Covaxin:
Covishield (the vaccine by Oxford University-AstraZeneca) is based on the viral-vectored platform.
Covaxin (jointly developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research), is an inactivated vaccine.
What are Viral-vectored vaccines?
A vector, in infectious disease biology, is what works as a vehicle to transport a disease-causing agent.
For example, mosquitoes are the vector of malaria, a disease caused by a parasite called plasmodium.
In viral-vectored vaccines, a virus is used to carry the target antigen gene into human cells.
There are many such viral vectors, which have different advantages. The most widely known are the adenovirus vectors, which cause very mild colds or asymptomatic infections in humans.
Covishield uses a chimpanzee adenovirus (AZD1222 or ChAdOx1), which carries the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
The chimpanzee adenovirus has been used because humans will not have pre-existing antibodies to this adenovirus.
What are Inactivated or killed vaccines?
Pathogens (viruses or bacteria) that cannot multiply cannot cause disease. So inactivating a virus or bacteria, using chemicals like formalin, can convert them into a safe immunogen.
Because inactivated viruses or bacteria do not multiply, we may need to use multiple doses of the vaccine and also give another substance to improve the immune response — this is called an adjuvant. The most common adjuvant is the alum but shark oil suspensions and a few others are also used.
A number of vaccines developed in China, and Covaxin in India are on the inactivated platform.