IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 22nd March 2018

  • IASbaba
  • March 22, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 22nd March 2018



‘Ayushman Bharat — National Health Protection Mission’ (AB-NHPM)

Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government interventions in important sectors

Key pointers:

  • The Union Cabinet recently approved the launch of ‘Ayushman Bharat — National Health Protection Mission’ (AB-NHPM).
  • AB-NHPM will subsume the on-going centrally sponsored schemes — Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).

Salient features of the AB-NHPM scheme:

  • This scheme has the benefit cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family per year. The target beneficiaries of the proposed scheme will be more than 10 crore families belonging to poor and vulnerable population based on SECC database.
  • The Rs. 5 lakh per family a year cover will take care of almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures. To ensure that nobody is left out (especially women, children and elderly) there will be no cap on family size and age in the scheme.
  • The benefit cover will also include pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses.
  • All pre-existing conditions will be covered from day one of the policy.
  • A defined transport allowance per hospitalisation will also be paid to the beneficiary.
  • Also, benefits of the scheme are portable across the country and a beneficiary covered under the scheme will be allowed to take cashless benefits from any public/private empanelled hospital across the country.
  • AB-NHPM will be an entitlement based scheme with entitlement decided on the basis of deprivation criteria in the SECC database.
  • Public and private-
    The beneficiaries can make use of benefits in both public and empanelled private facilities. All public hospitals in the States implementing AB-NHPM, will be deemed empanelled for the Scheme.
  • Keeping in view the State specific requirements, States/ UTs will have the flexibility to modify these rates within a limited bandwidth.
    One of the core principles of AB-NHPM is co-operative federalism and give flexibility to States. There is provision to partner the States through co-alliance.
  • The expenditure incurred in premium payment will be shared between Central and State Governments in specified ratio as per Ministry of Finance guidelines.

Article link: Click here

‘Ayushman Bharat — National Health Protection Mission’ (AB-NHPM)

Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Energy Security

Key pointers:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – “Saubhagya” – is the Centre’s household electrification scheme.
  • It aims to connect all households with electricity connections by December 2018.


  • The demand for power in the country is on a rise as new consumers are being connected under the Saubhagya scheme.
  • “There has been a 6.5-7 per cent growth in power demand during the current fiscal compared to the last financial year. This is on the back of 35.96 lakh new households getting electricity connections under the Saubhagya scheme since October 2017.

Article link: Click here



TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

The Cambridge Analytica scandal: Democracy at stake

What happened?

Recent media reports that a political consultancy that worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign gained inappropriate access to data on 50 million Facebook users.
The alleged scandal involving Cambridge Analytica’s use of the data of more than 55 million Facebook users has reopened big questions about the organisation of the information order in a democracy. They have also revealed how the language of democracy is struggling to come to terms with complex technological developments.

Who are Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a British data firm. The organisation has been drawing flak for its alleged role in influencing behaviour of voters in the 2016 presidential election campaign, and for helping the ‘Leave’ side in the Brexit referendum.

What has the organisation done?

The firm is alleged to have harvested data of tens of millions of Facebook users without permission in order to design a software to predict and influence people’s voting preferences.

From where did it collect the data?

Dr Aleksandr Kogan, a psychology professor at Cambridge University developed an application, thisisyourdigitallife, to harvest data of Facebook users.
Although the app was downloaded by 270,000 people (these people granted permission for data collection), it extracted personal information of each of the users’ friends without consent
Kogan then passed on all the data collected through his app to CA and other companies.

What kind of data were acquired by CA?

When the app was downloaded, Kogan had access not only to users’ basic information such as city of residence and details about friends, but also data from the profiles of their Facebook friends.

How was the data used by the firm?

Kogan’s firm Global Science Research (GSR) offered users small amounts of money to complete a survey on the condition they grant permission to access their personal details through Facebook.
This helped GSR to build personality and psychological profiles of millions of people.
The data were allegedly used by CA to tailor its political advertisements for a group of individuals, whose likings and interests were already known to them.

How did this help Donald Trump in his presidential election campaign?

CA performed a variety of services including designing target audiences for digital advertisements and fund-raising appeals, modelling voter turnout, buying $5 million in television ads and determining where Trump should travel to get maximum support.


  • The first issue at stake is what consent means in the new information order.
    The conceit, and attraction of the modern information order is that it does things with our consent, in our name, ostensibly to satisfy our desires. But given the complexities of data-sharing, possible third-party uses, or use by friends, through whom your data can be accessed, it is not very clear what we are consenting to, and whether the terms of that consent can be enforced.
  • The regulatory approach often hinges on user consent and the growth of social media companies over the past decade is fair evidence that consent is not hard to obtain, even with the knowledge of private data being signed over.
  • The fact that such vast amounts of data were so easily collected in the first place—and without breaking the rules —points to the larger issues to do with the economics of the internet.

Way ahead:

Regulatory action can change this to a certain extent.

  • Data localization conditions can ensure that user data collected within a country must be kept within it.
  • Regulations can also compel businesses to adopt privacy by design principles that foreground user choice and consent.
    The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect from 25 May this year, has adopted this approach. Perhaps the most stringent data protection regime globally, it will be a litmus test for companies’ ability and willingness to comply.

Connecting the dots:

  • What was the Cambridge Analytica Scandal? Discuss how the democracy is at stake in the new information order.


TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • 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-Russia: Maintaining the relationship


India has sought to retain strategic autonomy by maintaining a careful balance in its relationships with the major centres of power — notably the US, Russia, China and the European Union. This has never been easy because of the geopolitical rivalries inherent.
The challenges we now face are unprecedented because of the determination of an aggressive China to become the sole centre of power in Asia.

Reading Russia:

Although the US and powers like Japan regard the role of India as important in maintaining a viable balance of power in Asia, there are misgivings about Russia’s approach to India.
Moscow’s policies are driven largely by the relentless hostility of the US to oppose and contain Russia’s influence.
Moscow has thus been literally driven into the arms of Beijing, resulting in a virtual Moscow-Beijing alliance to counter American hegemony.


India has been endeavouring to maintain its strategic autonomy by seeking to expand its relationship with Russia. This is being done internationally by working with Moscow in forums such as BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the India-Russia-China triangle, which was initially promoted by Russia.

  • India has also sought to complement Moscow’s efforts to stabilise the secular Assad regime in Syria.
  • While limited connectivity has served as an obstacle to trade with Russia, the defence relationship between the two countries remains vibrant.
    The approximately 270 Russian Sukhoi-30 fighters are the main element of the IAF’s strike and air defence potential.
  • Russian defence exports to India in recent years account for around 39 per cent of its total exports and far exceed the exports to China which, unlike India, has successfully developed a vibrant defence industry with significant export potential.


  • Russia and India have a mutual interest in carrying forward defence and security cooperation.
  • India’s trade with Russia remains limited because of problems in connectivity.
    However, mutual cooperation in investments in the petrochemical sector is substantial and significant. The recent $12.9-billion deal for the acquisition of Essar Oil refinery by Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, is one of the single biggest foreign investments in India.
  • There is also considerable potential for Russia and India to reinforce each other in executing energy and rail transportation projects in third countries such as Afghanistan and Vietnam.

It is evident that India cannot match China’s economic power in its relations with Russia. One should, however, remember that there has been grave mutual distrust between Russia and China for centuries. The Russians view China’s meteoric rise and its growing population as a threat to their Siberian region and even to Vladivostok.


Both Russia and India have an interest in keeping their relationship forward-looking, in light of their common interest in developing a multipolar world order.
Moscow needs to be told clearly that the Quad — the US, Australia, Japan, India — will primarily maintain a viable balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, even as India seeks a greater cooperative partnership with Russia.

Connecting the dots:

  • Both Russia and India have an interest in keeping their relationship forward-looking. Discuss the potential and the challenges involved.


Conserve every drop

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Much ado about an impractical idea

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Privatization is not a panacea for the ills


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