IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 18th January 2018

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  • January 18, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 18th January 2018



India considering becoming member of Budapest convention

Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Internal security

Key pointers:

  • India is reconsidering its position on becoming a member of the Budapest Convention because of the surge in cyber crime, especially after a push for digital India.
  • The move, however, is being opposed by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on the grounds that sharing data with foreign law enforcement agencies infringes on national sovereignty and may jeopardise the rights of individuals.
  • A deadline of February this year has been set to operationalise the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C). The Home Minister had announced the setting up of I4C in 2016 to deal with all types of cyber crime at the national level.
  • “I4C will be set up under the newly created Cyber and Information Security (CIS) division of the MHA. CIS will have four wings, namely security clearance, cybercrime prevention, cyber security and information security”.

The Budapest Convention:

  • It provides for the criminalisation of conduct, ranging from illegal access, data and systems interference to computer-related fraud and child pornography, procedural law tools to make investigation of cybercrime and securing of e-evidence in relation to any crime more effective, and international police and judicial cooperation on cybercrime and e-evidence.
  • The Convention has 56 members, including the US and the UK.

There is a need for international cooperation to check cybercrime, radicalisation and boost data security.

Article link: Click here



TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
  • India and Israel relations.

India-Israel Relations: Past and Present


The below articles deals with India-Israel ties, have it evolved since the countries became nations in 1947.

The two countries established diplomatic ties in January 1992. The two countries are celebrating 25 years of friendship, and collaborating in a spectrum of areas.


1947: The UN drafted a plan of partition of Mandate Palestine. This was approved by the UN General Assembly, but rejected by most of the Arab world and also by India.

1950: India recognised Israel, but did not establish diplomatic relations.

1956: The then Israeli foreign minister visited India in the middle of the Suez crisis when Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt after Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal. India was one of the mediators along with the US, the UK and Yugoslavia.

1962: PM Jawaharlal Nehru writes to Israeli PM Ben Gurion seeking arms and ammunition supply during the war with China. Israel responds, making it the basis for defence ties between the two countries.

1971: PM Indira Gandhi asks then Israeli PM Golda Meir for weapons for the war against Pakistan. Meir agrees.

1977: Foreign minister Moshe Dayan visits India, meets PM Morarji Desai.

1985: PM Rajiv Gandhi meets with his Israeli counterpart on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting. It’s the first public meeting between leaders of the two countries.

1992: Diplomatic ties between India and Israel formally established by the Narasimha Rao government. Israel opens its embassy in New Delhi in February and in May, India opens its embassy in Tel Aviv.

1996: India acquires 32 IAI Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, from Israel.

1996: Israeli President Ezer Weizman leads a 24-member business delegation to India. Weizman is the first Israeli head of state to visit India. Weapons deal involving the purchase of the Barak-1 vertically-launched surface-to-air missiles is finalised.

1999: Israel supplies weapons as India battled Pakistani insurgents and army regulars during the Kargil war.

2000: Home minister L.K. Advani meets Israeli President Weizman in Tel Aviv to discuss techniques employed to curb terrorism. India and Israel set up a joint anti-terror commission.

2003: Ariel Sharon becomes the first Israeli PM to visit India. (Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime)

2006: Israel and India sign an agriculture cooperation pact

2009: Israeli Barak 8 air defence system is sold to India for $1.1 billion.

2013: Israel announces help to India to diversify and raise yields of its fruit and vegetable crops through centres of excellence across India.

2014: PM Narendra Modi meets Israeli PM Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York, the first such meeting in over a decade.

2015: India abstains from vote against Israel at the UN Human Rights Commission, signalling a shift in its Israel-Palestine policy.

2015: President Pranab Mukherjee visits Israel to initiate deals on various collaborative projects on technology and culture.

2016: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj visits Tel Aviv. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visits India for six days.

2017: Three warships from the Indian navy dock in the Israeli port of Haifa.

2017: Pilots from India join pilots from Israel, the US, Germany, France, Italy and Poland for the 2017 Blue Flag exercise, the largest aerial training exercise to ever take place in Israel.

2017: PM Narendra Modi makes a stand-alone visit to Israel, the first ever by an Indian PM, and spends three days in the country.

2017: India voted against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel at the UN General Assembly.

Now (2017): Benjamin Netanyahu, second Israeli PM to visit India.

India-Israel recent highlights of Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit:

  • Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu visit will further cement close friendship between the two nations.
  • His visit to Mumbai, where the majority of India’s Jews community live, is expected to boost Jews’ profile.
  • Emphasis on forging technology and innovation partnerships to elevate ties.
  • Focus areas for cooperation: defence, agriculture, water conservation, high technology and innovation.
  • Israel wants to upgrade economic linkages with India.
  • Bilateral trade is currently at $4 billion excluding defence purchases by India
  • India-Israel Innovation Bridge will act as link between start-ups of India and Israel.
  • India and Israel will begin work on a free trade pact that Israel has been pushing for.
  • Israel has given initial approval for Indian energy companies to explore oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, in the first such move by Indian firms in that region.
  • ‘Trilateral Fund’ of $50 million has been created by Israel-India Technology Group (I-ITG) to promote entrepreneurship and trilateral business opportunities between the US, India and Israel.
  • In terms of global innovation index ranking, Israel is 17th while India is at 60th spot.

Both countries inked nine pacts to boost cooperation in key areas, such as cyber security, agriculture, technology security, oil and gas sector, film-co- production, amendments to an air transport pact, AYUSH  (ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy), space, solar-thermal energy panels, strategic areas of defence and counter- terrorism etc.

Concern area: India’s shrinking Jew Community

Although historians believe Jews first arrived in India 2,000 years ago, their descendents today say they are virtually unknown in a country where they are hugely outnumbered by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians.

Nor are Jews officially recognised as a minority community by India’s government. India is in fact home to several distinct Jewish groups.

India’s Jewish population peaked at around 20,000 in the mid 1940s. Numbers have dwindled rapidly because of emigration since the creation of Israel in 1948.

Connecting the dots:

(The above article only deals with understanding the ties and background of India-Israel relations. In upcoming articles, we will be dealing with assessment part.)



General Studies 1

  • Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Family Planning in India: Targeted approach


India in 1952, started the world’s first family planning programme.
On the whole, these programmes have done well in tackling India’s fertility challenge.
The recently released report on the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), carried out in 2015-16, shows where it has succeeded—and where shortcomings remain.

Success and failures:

Total fertility rate:

  • The total fertility rate has declined to 2.2, marginally above the replacement rate of 2.1.
    This is substantial progress from 2005-2006 when NFHS-3 pegged the rate at 2.7. There are a number of takeaways from slicing the numbers in different ways.

Geographic variance:

  • The fertility rate in 23 states and Union territories—including all the southern states—is below the replacement rate.
  • It is substantially higher in a number of states in central, east and north-east India.
    Bihar, for instance, has the highest rate at 3.41, followed by Meghalaya at 3.04 and Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland at 2.74.

Way ahead:

  • The nature and scope of the fertility-related public health challenge facing state governments varies widely. So must the response.
    The most effective way of enabling this is a greater role for local bodies in both urban and rural areas.

Education is a clear differentiator:

  • Women with 12 years or more of schooling have a fertility rate of 1.7, while women with no schooling have an average rate of 3.1.
  • Education levels are strongly correlated with another important aspect of the fertility rate.
    Higher levels of schooling mean lower levels of teenage pregnancy.
    In the 15-19 cohort, as many as one-fifth of the women with no schooling have begun childbearing, while only one in 25 women in the same cohort who have had 12 years or more of schooling have done so. Teenage childbearing, in turn, results in greater health risks. Birth intervals smaller than 24 months “are associated with increased health risks for both mothers and newborns”.

Thus, lack of education robs women of reproductive control, feeding into India’s maternal and child health problem.
Combined with younger pregnancies and higher childbearing rates, it also constrains women’s economic choices.
This, in turn, reinforces a lack of reproductive control—44% of women who are unemployed use modern contraceptives while 60% of women who are employed for cash do so—perpetuating a vicious cycle.

The skewed pattern of contraceptive usage:

  • Knowledge of contraceptive methods is now almost universal in India; the government has done well here. Despite this, men have not taken up the responsibility of managing fertility.
    The most popular contraceptive method by far, at 36%, is female sterilization. Male sterilization—a less invasive and easier method with a much lower chance of medical complications—accounts for a mere 0.3%.
    Male condom usage is low as well, at 5.6%.
  • The public healthcare system, which accounts for almost 70% of modern contraceptive usage, doesn’t do enough to address this problem caused by societal attitudes.

Way ahead:

The targeted approach for fertility management.

  • Poorly informed women, largely in rural areas, in order to hit bureaucratic targets, often violate reproductive rights in the process. Thus, Supreme Court in its 2016 verdict in Devika Biswas vs Union of India & Others, to call for an end to sterilization camps.

Thus, rather than setting a fertility rate target as done in National Health Policy 2017 we need to have a decentralized planning.


Almost a century ago, in 1920s, social reformer D Karve took the then radical view that women could best confront the fertility challenge via emancipation and gender equality. This continues to hold true today. Successive governments have done well over the decades; NFHS-4 shows improvement in almost all metrics from the 2005-06 NFHS-3. Now, its time the government focuses on enabling educational and economic opportunities for women.

Connecting the dots:

  • India launched the world’s first family planning programme in 1952. The country has moved ahead with many successes. However, issues like geographic variation in fertility rates etc can be tackled only with decentralised planning and enabling educational and economic opportunities for women. Discuss.


Talking over a law

The Hindu

Three cheers for civil society

The Hindu

The Aadhaar system leaks too much data


The flip side to a formalised economy

Business Line 

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