COVID-19 Current Affairs - 2020

Cabinet Approves Developing of ARHCs for Urban Migrants/Poor under PMAY-U

To fulfill the vision of AtmaNirbhar Bharat, On 8th July 2020, the Union Cabinet under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given approval for developing Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHCs). These Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will be developed as a sub-scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U) for the Urban Migrants/poor.

Background

Affordable Rental Housing Complexes as a sub-scheme under PMAY-U was announced by the Union Finance Minister on 14th May 2020 as a part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package.

How the ARHCs will fulfill the vision of AtmaNirbhar Bharat?

The nationwide lockdown announced to combat the spread of the infectious Novel Coronavirus resulted in the loss of employment of workers and daily wage earners in the urban centers of the country. As a result of which, the country witnessed a massive reverse migration of the urban workers from the urban centers to their hometown or villages.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, these workers used to stay in slums or other informal and unauthorized colonies in our mostly outside the urban centers from where to cut on their expenses they used to risk their lives by walking or cycling to workplaces for hours every day.

The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will be made in urban centers of the country where these migrant workers will be able to avail houses at an affordable rent, these ARHCs will also be close to their workplace and will also offer them a hygienic environment to live by cutting down their unnecessary travel to far distances.

The Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will benefit a large number of workers, service providers, students, etc from rural areas or small towns when they move towards the urban centers in search of better opportunities.

About the ARHCs

  • Under ARHCs, at present approx 3 lakh beneficiaries will be covered.
  • Through 25 years of Concession Agreements, the Housing Complexes of the Government that are vacant at present will be converted into ARHCs.
  • For the projects using innovative technologies for construction under the ARHCs, an estimated Rs 600 crore of expenditure will be made in the form of the Technology Innovation Grant.
  • Private and Public entities will be offered special incentives, at priority sector lending rate concessional loans from banks and tax relief for developing ARHCs in urban centers on their available vacant lands for a period of 25 years.

Possibility of Airborne and Aerosol Transmission of COVID-19 cannot be Ruled Out: WHO

Governments across the world are dependent on the recommendations and guidelines of the WHO to curbing the spread of the infectious virus. An open letter was published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal by a group of scientists for the World Health Organization (WHO) on 6th July 2020 for revising the recommendations and guidelines issued by the WHO for transmission safety against the COVID-19 infection.

The group of scientists claimed that recent studies have found that the COVID-19 infection can be spread through tiny airborne particles.

As per the WHO recommendations and guidelines to date, COVID-19 infection is being spread through an infected person’s mouth and nose in the form of expelled small droplets.

On 7th July 2020, the Technical Lead of WHO for infection prevention and control- Maria Van Kerkhove had admitted and acknowledged the claims made by the group of scientists, she stated that there can be a possibility of airborne or aerosol transmission of the virus, the WHO has also found such evidences, but the evidences found are not definitive as such transmissions can take place in some specific conditions such as in poorly ventilated systems. She further added that the WHO will be publishing a scientific briefing on the same in the upcoming days.

The open letter written to WHO in the Journal is by a group of 239 scientists from 32 countries across the world.