Rajasthan Current Affairs
Four-day regional meeting of World Customs Organisation (WCO) was held in Jaipur, capital city of Rajasthan. It was attended by representatives of 33 member countries of Asia. The meeting was jointly chaired by WCO Deputy Secretary General Ricardo Travino and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs Chairman S Ramesh.
The meeting deliberated upon various issues including the steps required for the capacity building and reforms in customs. It also discussed and deliberated upon amended Kyoto protocol, digital customs, e-commerce among other issues. Summary of various efforts made by National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) for trade facilitation was also tabled in the meeting.
World Customs Organisation (WCO)
WCO is independent intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations. It was established in 1952 as Customs Co-operation Council (CCC). It is the only international organization with competence in Customs matters and is considered as voice of international Customs community.
It represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. It plays leading role in discussion, development, promotion and implementation of modern customs systems and procedures.
Objectives: It aims to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of member customs administrations and assist them to contribute successfully to national development goals, particularly revenue collection, national security, trade facilitation, community protection, and collection of trade statistics.
Organistaional Structure: WCO’s governing body – the Council relies on competence and skills of WCO Secretariat and a range of technical and advisory committees to accomplish its mission. The Secretariat comprises over 100 international officials, technical experts and support staff of some nationalities. WCO has divided its membership into six regions whereby each region is represented by elected vice-chairperson to WCO Council.
Functions: It offers range of Conventions and other international instruments, as well as technical assistance and training services to its members. It also actively supports its members in their endeavours to modernize and build capacity within their national Customs administrations.
It also plays vital role in stimulating growth of legitimate international trade and combats fraudulent activities. It also promotes emergence of honest, transparent and predictable Customs environment, thus directly contributing to economic and social well-being of its members.
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has confirmed 22 positive laboratory-confirmed cases of Zika virus in Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur. It was detected through Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system and all suspected cases in defined area and mosquito samples are being tested.
Health Ministry has taken precautionary measures followed by daily monitoring. It has activated control room at National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to undertake regular monitoring of the situation. Moreover, 7-member Central team also has been deputed to Jaipur following detection of the first case. State government also has been supplied with IEC material prepared to create awareness about zika virus disease and its prevention strategies. Besides, extensive surveillance and vector control measures are also being undertaken in area as per protocol by the state government.
Zika virus Disease
Zika virus Disease is mosquito-borne virus transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which also transmit three other vector-borne diseases Chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever. The virus belongs to family Flaviviridae and Genus Flavivirus. It was first identified in 1947 in Zika Forest, Uganda from where it derives its name. Now it is emerging disease currently being reported by 86 countries worldwide.
Transmission: It is transmitted primarily by infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which also transmits dengue. It can also spread through blood transfusion and sexual contact.
Symptoms: They are similar to other viral infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache.
Threats: Pregnant women infected with Zika virus may give birth to babies with severe brain damage or serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads. Besides there is also possible link between virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected.
Treatment and Prevention: There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites and clearing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.
Previous Outbreaks in India: First outbreak of Zika Virus was reported in Ahmedabad, Gujarat in January/February 2017 and second outbreak in July 2017 from Krishnagiri District in Tamilnadu. Both these outbreaks were successfully contained through intensive surveillance and vector management.