Daily Current Affairs March 23

Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health


Why in News?

Aiding the Kerala State in its war against COVID-19, the team at DISHA helpline works round the clock in fight against the pandemic.

About DISHA Helpline

DISHA Helpline is a joint venture undertaken by National Health Mission and Department of Health and Family Welfare. It was launched in 2013 to provide guidance, counseling and information on physical and mental health issues. It also has a ‘Dial a doctor’ service that helps people seeking advice over phone from doctors. It acts as a helpline number in cases of outbreak of an epidemic or a calamity. DISHA Helpline number is 1056.

DISHA Helpline during COVID-19

  • DISHA comprises of trained social workers and counselors who answer the questions about COVID-19 from across Kerala, other Indian states and abroad.
  • DISHA call-in-facility is the team of social work volunteers assisting callers to get information on the care to be taken or whether to be referred to treatment.
  • Their job entails giving guidelines about the viral outbreak and precautions to be taken regarding travel, home quarantine and isolation
  • The network works on the Oricon software developed by the OrisysIndia Consultancy Services, a Technopark-based start-up.
  • The callers are advised to get back to the DISHA number if they develop any symptoms of COVID-19. Instead of rushing to hospital, those who dial in are provided the contact number of the superintendent of the isolation ward in the district concerned so that arrangements could be made about their transportation and check-up.

Other Services by Govt. of Kerala

  • GoK Direct is the app that would give information on everything from Chief Minister’s announcements to the latest figures of COVID-19
  • Another major digital venture is the COVID Tracker. The web application does contact list tracking and health and test status of the suspects, and provides reports that form part of the State’s database. This is purely for internal use.


Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Parliament, State Legislatures and Local Self Governments


Why in News?

The State Election Commission of Kerala in an oversight, hope that the COVID pandemic is unlikely to impact the elections to the local bodies in the State and the polls are likely to be held in October itself.

More in news

Any change in the schedule could lead to constitutional crisis, as the newly elected local bodies will have to assume office in November 2020.

The number of wards in local bodies will be revised through delimitation process after considering the increase in population in each local body during the last 10 years. The draft list of the wards thus prepared will be published and objections invited. The final list will be published after holding a public hearing.

Salient Features of the Constitution 73rd and 74th Amendments

  • These amendments added two new parts to the Constitution, namely, added Part IX titled ‘The Panchayats’ (added by 73rd Amendment) and Part IXA titled ‘The Municipalities’ (added by 74thAmendment).
  • Basic units of democratic system-Gram Sabhas (villages) and Ward Committees (Municipalities) comprising all the adult members registered as voters. Three-tier system of panchayats at village, intermediate block/taluk and district levels except in States with population is below 20 lakhs (Article 243B).
  • Seats at all levels to be filled by direct elections (Article 243C).
  • Seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the chairpersons of the Panchayats at all levels also shall be reserved for SCs and STs in proportion to their population. One-third of the total number of seats to be reserved for women. One third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs also reserved for women. One-third offices of chairpersons at all levels reserved for women (Article 243D).
  • Uniform five year term and elections to constitute new bodies to be completed before the expiry of the term. In the event of dissolution, elections compulsorily within six months (Article 243E).
  • Independent Election Commission in each State for superintendence, direction and control of the electoral rolls (Article 243K).
  • 74th Amendment provides for a District Planning Committee to consolidate the plans prepared by Panchayats and Municipalities (Article 243ZD).

Way Forward

The Constitution visualises panchayats as institutions of self-governance. It is the major example of democratic decentralization. The powers and functions vested in Panchayati Raj Iinstitutions vary from state to state.


Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Importance of Biodiversity, Ecosystem, Flora and Fauna.


Why in news?

After a gap of seven years, mass nesting of Olive Ridley Turtles was witnessed during the daytime along the Rushikulya rookery coast in Odisha’s Ganjam district.

About Olive Ridley Turtles

  • The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtlesfound in the world, inhabiting warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
  • They get their name from the coloring of their heart-shaped shell, which starts out gray but becomes olive green once the turtles are adults. They have one to two visible claws on each of their paddle-like flippers.
  • The species is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List,Appendix 1 in CITES, and Schedule 1 in Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada. An arribada is a mass-nesting event when thousands of turtles come ashore at the same time to lay eggs on the same.
  • Olive-ridleysface serious threats across their migratory route, habitat and nesting beaches due to human activities such as unfriendly turtle fishing practices, development and exploitation of nesting beaches for ports, etc.

Olive Ridley Turtles in India

The enormous number of Olive ridleys nest in Odisha, namely at three river mouths: Dhamara, Devi and Rushikulya. Olive ridley sea turtles migrate in huge numbers from the beginning of November, every year, for mating and nesting along the coast of Odisha.

The Gahirmatha Beach in Kendrapara district of Odisha, which is a part of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, is the largest breeding ground for these turtles. A decline in the population of these turtles has occurred in the recent past due to mass mortality. Since Gahirmatha coast serves as the natal nesting beach for millions of turtles, it has immense importance on turtle conservation.

Way forward

Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA) is an NGO established in 1999 after a devastating cyclone hit the coast of Odisha. This organisation partners with local communities in the state to help protect and conserve plants and animals in coastal Odisha. One of the many projects they have undertaken recently is to protect and conserve the Olive Ridley sea turtles.