IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 15th August 2018

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  • August 15, 2018
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains

Focus)- 15th August 2018



Why is the rupee falling continuously?

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and related issues

In news:

  • The value of India’s currency ‘rupee’ is continuously falling.
  • Its value has declined by 8% between January – July 2018.
  • Among the BRICS nations; after the Russian Ruble, the Indian rupee depreciated the most in this period.
  • There has been a sharp depreciation in the rupee and it breached the 70 mark for the first time. (Rs.70= 1 dollar)

Important value additions: Knowing the basics

Conversion rate

  • The rate at which we can convert one currency into another currency is know as conversion rate between those two currencies.

What is Rupee Appreciation and Rupee Depreciation?

The value of Indian Rupee (or any other currency) is determined by the market. The demand and supply forces in the currency market. If the demand for Indian currency is high, Indian rupee will have high value, and if demand is low, it will depreciate.

Also, understand that a high value for Indian currency means, the exchanged rate of the Indian rupee against US dollar will be less. Or to explain with an example: Rs.40 against 1 US dollar means high value for Indian rupee when compared with Rs.70 against 1 US dollar.

So, if market forces determine the value of a currency, that type of system is called Floating Rate System. India has adopted floating rate system since 1975.

If the government or RBI fix the exchange rate of a currency (and does not allow any variations according to demand and supply forces in the market), such a system is called Fixed Rate system. It is also called Bretton Woods system or Pegged Currency System. India was following this kind of system till 1975 and partial controls till 1993.

Difference between Devaluation and Depreciation

The basic difference between the devaluation and depreciation is that, the devaluation is done by the government of the country deliberately while the depreciation take place because of market forces i.e. demand and supply.

Difference between Revaluation and Appreciation

Revaluation is a term which is used when there is a rise of currency to the relation with a foreign currency in a fixed exchange rate. In floating exchange rate correct term would be appreciation.

Reasons behind the depreciation of the Indian rupee against the dollar currently

  1. Increase in the price of the crude oil
  2. Tariff war scare (esp. between the USA and China)
  3. Increasing trade deficit of India
  4. Reduced capital flows to emerging economies
  5. Political Uncertainty

Person in news: Prafulla Samantara

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Biodiversity conservation

In news:

  • Green Nobel prize winner environmental activist Prafulla Samantara has opposed the proposed water aerodrome project in Chilika lake.
  • Says it will affect fishermen’s livelihood, keep off birds.

About Chilika lake

  • Chilika lagoon is a unique brackish water body that is visited by lakhs of migratory birds.
  • It also comes under the RAMSAR convention declaration on the natural wetlands of international importance.

Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS)

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


  • PM Modi’s ambitious scheme aims to provide coverage of ₹5 lakh per family annually and benefiting more than 10 crore poor families in the country.
  • 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.

Manipur extra-judicial killings

Part of: GS Mains II and IV – Role of Judiciary; Security issues; Ethics

In news:

  • Supreme Court had directed CBI to file chargesheets against Army officers involved in the Manipur extra-judicial killings.
  • There were allegations that innocents were killed branded as insurgents.
  • The court is monitoring the CBI probe and cases number up to over 1,500.
  • Armed forces personnel are plagued by doubts whether performing their duty to fight enemies would expose them to prosecution and land them in jail.
  • Supreme Court’s orders and the resultant CBI action against Army personnel had made soldiers jittery.


  • Are armed forces personnel being persecuted for doing their duty in insurgency-hit areas?



TOPIC:General Studies 2

  • Constitution; Election Commission of India
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

Election and Electoral Reforms


The Lok Sabha passed a Bill that allows ‘Proxy Voting’ to non-resident Indians (NRIs).  The Chief Election Commissioner expressed his views on proxy voting for NRIs, the fake news challenge, electoral bonds, and why EVMs are the best option.

Proxy voting: for NRIs

  • Proxy voting is to encourage NRIs to register and vote.
  • India have about three crore people of Indian origin settled abroad.
  • Half of them are Indian citizens; nearly 10% may be voters.
  • The total number of NRIs registered in our electoral rolls is less than 25,000.
  • They can now register at the address which is in their passport and opt for proxy.

Proxy voting: Indians residing in India

  • For someone in a hospital, EC is making all efforts to facilitate voting by setting up auxiliary voting stations.
  • If there is a sizeable number say, 200-300 voters in a hospital then an auxiliary voting station in the same building can be arranged.
  • If proxy facility is provided in India, this may become a scandal. It can be abused by parties or candidates to buy votes.

Paid news and fake news:

  • In terms of paid news, EC’s system has been able to ensure that whenever cases came to them and notices were issued.
  • But in case of fake news, have to handle not only social media accounts but even print media.
  • Even for VVPAT [Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail] failure, many print media outlets said that EVMs that had never failed in 20 years failed in such a large number. It was fake news.
  • EC’s Review Committee has engaged with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to tell them what exactly is required of them during the conduct of elections — from the day of announcement of polls to the declaration of results, and in the last two days before the conclusion of polls.
  • Even the Facebook regional head has agreed to have pre-certified electronic advertisements. And for the last 48 hours, advertisements affecting the election will be removed from the platform.
  • Every advertisement will be flagged with the cost paid for it, so that our observers can include the expenditure on that advertisement.
  • EC have set up a social media monitoring hub, also meeting Google in this regard.

About EVM and VVPAT: Feasibility of paper ballot

  • EC’s technical experts committee, which includes professors from IIT Delhi, Mumbai and Bhilai, found solution to VVPAT issues.
  • It is not correct to say that Europe has gone back to paper ballot. They [Europe] couldn’t devise an EVM which is standalone, which doesn’t have connectivity with Wi-Fi or Internet.
  • Indian EVM machine is just like a calculator; it is not even connected to a power supply unit.
  • EVMs have addressed so many issues, like invalid votes and booth capturing. There is no reason to think that as technology advances, we should be moving backwards.

Electoral Bonds and Transparency in political funding

  • The EC discussed this new scheme for campaign financing. EC’s worries about electoral financing are mainly the opacity regarding who purchased the bond, who gave to it whom, what is the source of funds.
  • All these not being disclosed to the electorate is not healthy for democracy.
  • There were some amendments to the Company Law. Earlier, there was provision that only profit earning companies can donate, now, even if the company is dying, it can donate and evaporate from the scene.
  • There are apprehensions that some shell companies may be created for siphoning off money from anywhere.

Effectiveness of Model Code of Conduct (MCC)

  • The EC’s Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect only after a poll schedule is announced.
  • Many believe that the government of the day always has an unfair advantage. Welfare schemes are usually named after the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister.
  • The EC through election reforms, cannot reform the whole of governance.
  • Whatever influences a voter’s mind at the time of elections, EC take care of that.
  • Like in Punjab, it was found that ration cards carried photographs of the political executive. The EC ensured that well before the announcement of elections, three months’ ration was distributed and then the ration cards were made redundant.
  • A democratically elected government can do whatever it wants. In case there is any objection, people can challenge it through public interest litigation.

Hate Speech:

  • In case of regular hate speeches by someone that tend to influence the voters, there are MCC provisions to censure the politician.
  • All legal provisions exist for substantive offences to be registered in appropriate cases. If they don’t relent, the EC debars them from campaigning.
  • Our election process is protected from interference under Article 329 of the Constitution.
  • Statutory backing is not given to the MCC, but it is agreed upon by all political parties that they will submit to the Code. If they violate it, the EC can derecognise them and can freeze their symbol.


  • Election Commission is one of the bulwarks of Indian Democracy. People of India as well as political parties have great trust in this institution.
  • But the new Campaign Financing scheme creates loopholes in terms of money supply during election campaign.
  • Similarly rising extremism in politics and hate speeches are driving the people’s choices against the spirit of free and fair elections.
  • To sustain the autonomy of EC in letter and spirit, electoral reforms along with positive political will is need of the hour.

Connecting the dots:

  • Briefly analyse the electoral system in India. Give some suggestions to resolve its flaws.




General Studies 2

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

General Studies 3

  • Science and technology; Bio-Technology

Bringing up a science: Research and Education in Evolution biology


  • The lack of research and education in evolutionary biology in India has justifiably been a matter of concern for some time.
  • Evolutionary biology is important in understanding multi-drug resistance in microbes, for instance.
  • The Nipah virus outbreak, which was traced to the habitat destruction of fruit bats, is also a study in ecology and evolutionary biology.

More about Evolutionary Biology:

  • Darwinian medicine or Evolutionary medicine is the modern application of evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease.
  • It is poorly researched in India as compared to other countries. The only example from recent studies is work of Milind Watve who studied diabetes from this perspective.
  • Host-range expansion is a classic evolutionary biology concept where, owing to climate change or other reasons, a pathogen moves from one host to another.
  • In the Indian context, it sadly remains untapped as an approach to diseases that spread from animals to humans.
  • In education, too, evolutionary biology is at a disadvantage. For one, there are no postgraduate departments of evolutionary biology in any university.
  • DNA fingerprinting is a technology that has now caught the popular imagination.
  • Using DNA fingerprinting and DNA statistics for forensics requires a nontrivial understanding of molecular population genetics.
  • But we do not have sufficient numbers of researchers working on these areas and training future generations.

The Way ahead

  • A group of evolutionary biologists have recently established the Indian Society of Evolutionary Biologists (ISEB). This is a significant development.
  • If India wishes to effectively leverage scientific understanding to address problems of public health, environment, agriculture and societal breakdowns, it cannot be done without greatly enhancing our appreciation of the importance of an evolutionary perspective in attacking these problems.

Connecting the dots:

  • WHO Zika virus alert and then Nipah outbreak in kerala, do you think India is ready for such public health emergencies? Comment in the light of Medical education and R&D in Health Sciences in India.


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


  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section within 24 hours. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Consider the below statements with regard to Depreciation and Devaluation:

  1. Devaluation refers to a change in value of a money that has its value set by the country’s government.
  2. Depreciation refers to a change in value of a money that has its value determined by market forces generated in the open money market.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.2) If a country devalue its currency against other foreign currencies then it may lead to:

  1. Increase in exports
  2. Increase in inflow of foreign exchange
  3. Increase in import of goods

Select the code from below:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.3) Consider the following statements with reference to depreciation

  1. It is a situation where exchange rate of a domestic currency is cut down by its government against any foreign currency.
  2. It means an asset losing its value due to, either its use, wear and tear or due to other economic reasons.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.4) Consider the following statements with reference to depreciation of a currency

  1. It is a fall in the value of domestic currency with respect to other currencies
  2. It is done by deliberate government intervention

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Q.5) Which Ramsar Convention sites in India are under Montreux Record?

  1. Keoladeo National Park
  2. Chilika Lake
  3. Loktak Lake
  4. Chandertal Wetland

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

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

Q.6) Consider the following statements about ‘’Chilika Lake’

  1. The lake is of estuarine character in an ephemeral environment.
  2. It has been designated as wetland of International importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  3. It is the largest coastal lagoon in the world.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.7) Consider the following statements with reference to the Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Scheme (AB-NHPS)

  1. The scheme will provide a cover of Rs.5 lakh per family per year.
  2. Only hospitalization expenses will be a part of the cover.
  3. It will subsume Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and the Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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


Words of freedom

The Hindu

The market across the border

The Hindu

A brief history of democracy

Indian Express

The Freedom We Long For

Indian Express

A matter of confidence

Indian Express

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