fbpx

IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 12th June 2018

  • IASbaba
  • June 12, 2018
  • 44
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 12th June 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


Organ transplant racket surfaces in Tamil Nadu

Part of: Prelims and GS Mains Paper II and IV – Health; Welfare and Ethical concerns

In news:

  • An organ transplant racket has surfaced in Tamil Nadu. International patients get priority in cadaver transplants, bypassing long list of Indians.
  • Three of four hearts harvested from brain-dead patients were given to foreign nationals, bypassing Indian patients on the waiting list.

Key Pointers:

About National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)

  • National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) is an all-India apex body for coordination and networking for procurement and distribution of organs/tissues and transplantation.
  • NOTTO functions under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Protocol of organ transplant –

  • The protocol is that an organ should first be offered to an Indian. If no Indian is available, an NRI should be considered. The question of an international patient arises only when both decline an organ offer.
  • Going by the rule book, allocation of organs to recipients on the waiting list is based on criteria that include the date of registration and the medical condition of the recipient.
  • The wealth, race or gender of a person on the waiting list has no bearing on when and whether a person will receive a donated organ.

According to the Indian law, organ sales are banned and therefore no foreigner can get a local donor. Human organ transplant laws are very strict in India and the penalty incurred for organ trade is also very high.

About Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THO)

  • The legislation called the Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THO) was passed in India in 1994 to streamline organ donation and transplantation activities.
  • The aim of the THO Act is “to provide for the regulation of removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes and for the prevention of commercial dealings in human organs”.
  • Despite the THO legislation, organ commerce and kidney scandals are regularly reported in the Indian media.

Important value additions:

  • The growing disparity between the rich and poor, demand for human organs and availability of technology in the country makes the trading of organs a quick means to riches for some and a relief for others.
  • Invariably Organ trade leads to exploitation of the poverty-stricken people by tempting them with financial gains to meet their immediate short-term financial needs.
  • The sad reality is that India has one of the lowest organ donation rates among developed and developing nations.

Article link: In Chennai, the hearts beat for foreigners


Animals/Species in news: Black Softshell turtle

Part of: Prelims – Environment and Biodiversity; Animal Conservation

In news:

  • Nilssonia nigricans or Black Softshell turtle, which is declared extinct in the wild by the IUCN Red list, was sighted in sacred waters of temple ponds across northeast India.
  • Tests at the Nagshankar temple pond in Assam have confirmed the presence of two more species — Nilssonia gangetica or Indian softshell turtle, classified as Vulnerable, and Chitra indica or South Asian narrow-headed softshell turtle, listed as Endangered by the IUCN.

Pic link: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/06/12/CNI/Chennai/TH/5_01/6c9f05c2_2166606_1_mr.jpg

Pic link: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/06/12/CNI/Chennai/TH/5_01/6c9f05c2_2166606_2_mr.jpg

Key pointers:

  • Black Softshell turtle (Nilssonia nigricans) : : IUCN status ‘Extinct in the wild’
  • Indian softshell turtle (Nilssonia gangetica) : : IUCN status ‘Vulnerable’
  • South Asian narrow-headed softshell turtle (Chitra indica) : : IUCN status ‘Endangered’

Do you know?

  • Use of Environmental DNA (eDNA) technology – This fast emerging testing tool monitors the biodiversity of an area without physically collecting specimens.
  • eDNA is DNA that is collected from a variety of environmental samples such as soil, seawater, or even air rather than directly sampled from an individual organism.

Article link:Under divine care, turtles swim on in Assam’s temple tanks


India to host first BIMSTEC war games

Part of: Prelims and GS Mains Paper II – India and its neighbours; International Relations

In news:

  • India will host the first military exercise of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) group focussing on counter-terrorism in September.
  • The exercise is scheduled to be held in Pune.
  • The theme includes counter-terrorism in semi-urban terrain and cordon and search, and each side will bring in some 30 soldiers.
  • BIMSTEC countries held a disaster management exercise in 2017, but this is the first military exercise of the grouping.

Important Value Additions

About BIMSTEC:

  • BIMSTEC was set up in 1997 and includes India, Bangladesh, Bhutan Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. (7 nations)
  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an organization of South Asian and South East Asian countries which are dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
  • Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka.

Article link: India to host first BIMSTEC war games in September


Maldives asks India to remove its helicopters from Maldives

Part of: Prelims and GS Mains Paper II – India and its neighbours; International Relations

In news:

  • Maldives government led by Yameen made it clear that it would like India to remove copters located in Maldives.
  • India had gifted two Dhruv advanced light helicopters in 2013, of which one was operated by the Indian Coast Guard and the other by the Indian Navy, manned by six pilots and a number of maintenance ground staff.
  • Yameen government has alleged that tensions over the presence of the two Indian helicopters in two strategically important locations in the Laamu and Addu atolls have been growing.

Frayed ties

Relations between New Delhi and Male have been frayed since last year, when the Maldives rushed through a free trade agreement with China, and plummeted further after President Abdulla Yameen declared an Emergency in the country in February.

Article link: Remove copters by June-end: Maldives – NATIONAL – The Hindu


Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

Part of: Prelims and GS Mains Paper II – Government schemes; Welfare and Health

About PMMVY

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development
  • Maternity Benefit Programme would be implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  • It would provide grants-in-aid to the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations (UTs) in a dedicated Escrow account for the purpose of direct benefit transfer to the beneficiaries.
  • PMMVY is implemented using the platform of Anganwadi Services scheme of Umbrella ICDS under Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • PMMVY shall be implemented through a centrally deployed Web Based MIS Software application and the focal point of implementation would be the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) and ASHA/ ANM workers.
  • The scheme is being implemented on a 60:40 cost-sharing basis with the State governments.

Pic link: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/06/12/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_11/5945ef25_2167321_101_mr.jpg

Under the scheme, pregnant women and lactating mothers are offered a cash incentive of ₹6,000 on the birth of their first child as partial compensation for wage loss, to reduce maternal mortality and malnutrition levels among children.

For more, refer to the link – http://www.wcd.nic.in/sites/default/files/PMMVY%20Scheme%20Implemetation%20Guidelines%20._0.pdf

Article link: PM’s maternity scheme benefits 23.6 lakh


Lateral entry into civil services

Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Civil services reform

Key pointers:

  • The government has opened the doors of bureaucracy to skilled people from the private sector, inviting applications for 10 senior-level posts.

The post of the joint secretary — crucial to policy making and implementation of government programmes — is filled by career bureaucrats, who usually join the service after passing exams conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.

  • Those eligible includes “Individuals working at comparable levels in Private Sector Companies, Consultancy Organisations, International/Multinational Organisations” above the age of 40 years and with a minimum of 15 years’ experience.
  • The posts are also open to officials of any state or union territory government who are already working at equivalent level, and individuals working at comparable levels in public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies, universities and research institutes.
  • The recruitment will be done on contract basis for three to five years. Recruitment will be made for 10 departments — including Revenue, Financial Services, Economic Affairs, Commerce and Civil Aviation.
  • The idea of lateral entry into bureaucracy has been under discussion on and off for years, but this is the first time it has been acted upon.
  • The government has said it is keen on it to bring in “fresh ideas and new approaches to governance”.
  • The step has been hailed as a welcome step that would bring in the much-needed field experts in governance, but critics have pointed out the system can only work if the method of selection is impartial, objective and transparent.

Rs 500 crore fund to facilitate infrastructure investment

Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Infrastructure

Key pointers:

  • The government is planning to launch the Rs 500-crore fund next month to facilitate infrastructure investments by big players like insurance and pension funds.
  • A credit enhancement fund provides an additional source of assurance or guarantee that the borrower will service their loan. It can also help borrowers raise loans at lower interest rates.
  • The dedicated fund will operate as a non-banking financial company (NBFC) with 49 per cent government stake.
  • It has got support from investors such as India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL), Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • The initial corpus of the fund will be Rs 500 crore, and it will operate as a non-banking finance company.
  • Currently, only $ 110 billion is being invested in infrastructure, against a requirement of $ 200 billion, leading many analysts to classify India as an infrastructure deficit country. However, he said there is a need for the private sector to be more active on the infrastructure investment front.

(MAINS FOCUS)


SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

TOPIC:General Studies 3:

  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Kickstarting the artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem in India

Background:

We have already covered AI – very comprehensively:

  • What is AI?
  • Real-world examples from around us
  • Applications of AI
  • With regard to Indian context, what are the applications of AI and challenges
  • Summary of Potential Benefits of AI and Risks

Refer to this link and revise once – Artificial Intelligence: Potential Benefits & Risks

You should be able to connect the dots – What is Artificial Intelligence? Discuss what the potential benefits are and associated risks? Also what the challenges are in adoption of AI in Indian context?

Therefore, among the challenges, we had highlighted that India fares average in the surging competition for AI technology development. There is no clearly stated policy document or vision statement for AI development.

We also know that, in February 2018, the Department of Defence Production had constituted a 17-member task-force to study the use of AI for both military applications and technology-driven economic growth.

In news:

  • NITI Aayog has published an ambitious discussion paper on kickstarting the artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem in India.
  • The paper talks of powering five sectors — agriculture, education, health care, smart cities/infrastructure and transport — with AI.
  • It highlights the potential for India to become an AI ‘garage’, or solutions provider, for 40% of the world.

Can India win the Global Artificial Intelligence (AI) race?

The below article provides the concerns/challenges that India face today with regard to AI.

Concerns

  • For India, in order to catch up with China or U.S., it would first have to resolve some stumbling blocks, such as poor data quality and lack of expertise in this field.
  • India would have to develop AI tools for a range of applications: reading cancer pathology reports, rerouting traffic in smart cities, telling farmers where to store their produce, and picking students at high risk of dropping out from school, among them.

The U.S., Japan and China have published their AI strategy documents and, importantly, put their money where their aspirations are.

China, for example, plans to hand out a million dollars in subsidies to AI firms, as well as to run a five-year university programme for 500 teachers and 5,000 students.

  • The NITI Aayog does not talk about how India’s ambitions will be funded, but proposes an institutional structure to get things going. This structure includes a network of basic and applied research institutions, and a CERN-like multinational laboratory that would focus on global AI challenges.
  • India hardly has any AI expertise today. The paper estimates that it has around 50 top-notch AI researchers, concentrated in elite institutions like the IITs.
  • Further, only around 4% of Indian AI professionals are trained in emerging technologies such as deep learning.
  • India also lacks quality data in building smart AI tools and insufficient research support, especially in sectors like agriculture and health.

India is lagging the global dominance presently in the AI space … It will take time before (it) positions itself at a global standing.

Conclusion:

India’s efforts come as the AI competition between China and U.S. intensifies, with China aiming to be the world leader in the space by 2030.

India, meanwhile, is late to the game, and will probably not dominate in the field except in a few areas.

India stands a chance to compete at a global level, provided the above listed hurdles are overcome.

Despite these formidable challenges, the scope of NITI Aayog’s paper must be lauded. The trick will be to follow it up with action, which will demand a strong buy-in from policymakers and substantial funds. The coming years will show if the country can manage this.

Connecting the dots:

  • India is lagging the global dominance presently in the AI space. Do you agree? Suggest what policy actions are needed for India in order to dominate the global AI race.
  • India aspires to become an AI ‘garage’, or solutions provider, for 40% of the world. Critically examine where does India stand in the global race and will India succeed to become an AI ‘garage’?

AGRICULTURE/ECONOMY

TOPIC:

General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

Comprehensive Plan for Dairy Development: An assessment

Background:

A sustained growth of milk production in India, growing at a CAGR of 5 per cent between 2010-16, and the leading position of milk among all the agricultural commodities have placed dairy in the forefront of the government’s commitment to double farmers’ income by 2022.

Vision 2022: National Action Plan on Dairy Development (NAPDD)

In order to bring dairying in sync with its grand vision of doubling farmers’ income, the government formulated a comprehensive plan for dairy development — Vision 2022: National Action Plan on Dairy Development (NAPDD) — in 2017.
It envisages increasing milk production to 300 million tonnes by 2023-24.
To realise the desired milk production targets, the plan projects to increase the in-milk bovine population from 88 million to 116.38 million and average milk yield per bovine from 4.35 kg/day to 7kg/day between 2015-2023.

Is it feasible?

  • Enhancing the herd efficiency ratio:
    The plan is to enhance the herd efficiency ratio (Herd Efficiency Ratio is defined as the ratio of in-milk bovine population to total bovine population) from 27 per cent to 40 per cent by 2023. At present, only Punjab has herd efficiency as high as 39 per cent.
    Challenge:
    Considering the today’s political environment (Many State governments enforcing restrictive rules on cattle slaughter and private vigilantism on the rise causing interference with the established system of disposal of unproductive bovines), disposing of unproductive animals has become a big challenge for the farmers.
  • Increasing the milk yield per bovine:
    Vision 2022 puts special focus on increasing the milk yield of low-yielding, non-descript local cattle from 2.15 kg/day to 5 kg/day by 2023-24. It plans to upgrade 50 per cent of non-descript cattle using seven indigenous dairy breeds and another 50 per cent using 33 indigenous dual-purpose breeds.
    Concern:
    The plan doesn’t conside upgradation by using exotic breeds such as Holstein Friesian. According to Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics 2016, the average milk yield per day of crossbreed-exotic is more than 7 kg/day; which is the required target of Vision 2022.
    States such as Punjab and Kerala have exhibited commendable achievements in milk production by grading up their local cattle with exotic breeds.

Way ahead: Re-visioning the dairy plan

In its present form, Vision 2022 has several infirmities and appears unrealistic in its commitment of doubling the milk production by 2023-24. The plan doesn’t reflect the ground realities of milk production in India and ignores the wide inter-state gaps present.
The entire eastern India have both herd efficiency and average milk yield below the national average of 27 per cent and 1,600 kg per year respectively. States such as Chhattisgarh, Assam, Odisha and Jharkhand are at present in a position where the rest of India was four-five decades back in terms of herd efficiency and average milk yield.

  • Instead of bringing the rest of India on the same footing as Punjab in a short span, Vision 2022 should follow a more equitable and pragmatic approach to accelerate dairying in the country.
  • It should first prioritise its energy and resources in shifting bovine functions more towards dairying in the eastern geography.
    Just by taking up the herd efficiency ratio and milk yield to the national average in the eastern States (Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Assam and West Bengal) alone could bring additional 35-40 million million tonnes of milk to the national milk pool.

Conclusion:

The hike in milk production especially in eastern states will have far-reaching socio-economic and livelihood impacts, which pragmatically should be the vision for India’s dairy development.

Connecting the dots:

  • The government must be more pragmatic in its dairy targets and must promote dairying in a big way in the Eastern States. Comment.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Q.1) Consider the below statements:

  1. Health is a state subject.
  2. National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation is an all-India apex body for coordination and networking for procurement and distribution of organs/tissues and transplantation.
  3. NOTTO functions under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Match List I with List II and select the correct answer using the code given below the Lists:

List I                                         List II

  1. Black Softshell turtle                 1. Endangered
  2. Koalas                                        2. Vulnerable
  3. Chitra indica                              3. Extinct in the wild

A-B-C

  1. 1-2-3
  2. 3-2-1
  3. 1-1-2
  4. 3-1-2

Q.3) Consider the below statements with regard to BIMSTEC:

  1. It was set up in 1997 and includes all the South Asian and South East Asian countries.
  2. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka.
  3. India will host the first military exercise of the BIMSTEC

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.4) Laamu and Addu atolls – these 2 strategically important locations were in news recently. It belongs to which among the following countries?

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Australia
  3. Maldives
  4. Indonesia

Q.5) Which of the following statements is/are correct about Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)?

  1. It is a cash incentive scheme for pregnant women and lactating mothers
  2. It is a pension scheme exclusively for the senior citizens aged 60 years and above
  3. It provides an assured return of 8% per annum for 10 years
  4. Both (b) and (c)

Q.6) Consider the below statements with regard to Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)

  1. It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, i.e 100% cost by Central government.
  2. It is implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
  3. It is implemented using the platform of Anganwadi Services scheme of Umbrella ICDS under Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Which of the statements above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.7) Which of the statements given below is/are correct about Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY)?

  1. Under this scheme, monetary benefits are extended to BPL pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  2. Beneficiaries will get Rs. 6000 each in three installments.

Choose correct answer:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

MUST READ

To the brink and back

The Hindu

The story of the two ceasefire

The Hindu

India redefines its regional role

The Hindu

When gun falls silent

Indian Express

The age of surplus

Indian Express

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Search now.....