IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 04th September 2018
Swachh Iconic Place – Ajmer dargah
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Conservation of Heritage sites and monuments
- Ajmer dargah is included among the Swachh Iconic Places, a clean-up initiative focused on iconic heritage, spiritual and cultural places through a multi-stakeholder approach model.
- MoU signed to give facelift to Ajmer dargah – Ajmer Municipal Corporation and Hindustan Zinc to spend ₹5.68 crore to clean and manage the shrine.
- In Ajmer, the Collector will act as the project’s nodal agency with the Dargah Committee and ‘khadims’ (workers) being the primary stakeholders.
- The campaign was initiated under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2016.
Important Value Additions:
- Ajmer dargah – is a 13th-century Sufi shrine of sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti. (located in Rajasthan)
- The Dargah Committee, appointed by the Government, takes care of the maintenance of the shrine.
Do you know?
- The Swachh Iconic Places – project envisioned by the Prime Minister is being coordinated by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation with the support of State governments and local administration.
Bal Gangadhar ‘Lokmanya’ Tilak
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – History; Role of freedom fighters and their contributions
Of late there have been heated arguments over – who organised the first public festivities? — the 19th century physician Bhau Laxman Javale or freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar ‘Lokmanya’ Tilak.
According to our books, in 1893, the Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak praised the celebration of sarvajanik Ganesha utsav in his newspaper, Kesari, and dedicated his efforts to launch the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organised public event.
It is unclear when the festival started, it became a major social and public event with sponsorship of Shivaji after Mughal-Maratha wars, and again in the 19th century after public appeal by Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak, who championed it as a means to circumvent the colonial British government ban on Hindu gatherings through its anti-public assembly legislation in 1892.
NECTAR and Green Gold: Bamboo
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains Paper III – Agriculture sector (Indian Economy)
- In Union Budget 2018, government had allocated a whopping Rs 1,290 crore to promote the bamboo sector — through restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM).
- Government also removed bamboo grown outside forest areas from the definition of trees.
- However there are some concerns whether all these efforts help to achieve $10 billion market potential of bamboo.
- Failure of National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA), National Bamboo Mission (NMB) and North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR)
- Department of Science and Technology (DST) had in 2004 launched the National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA) with an outlay of ₹200 crore. NMBA failed. NMBA neither developed any technology nor facilitated technology transfer.
- ₹1,400-crore National Bamboo Mission (NMB) also failed from 2007-2014
- Even related initiative called the North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR) has also failed. NECTAR is an autonomous society registered and headquartered in Shillong with a fund allocation of ₹292 crore. However, even after five years of its creation, NECTAR yet to shift to Shillong headquarters (from New Delhi).
- The entire team that made NMBA a failure was rehabilitated in NECTAR without any responsibilities being fixed. NECTAR functioned under DST and no proper functioning.
- The Central government had in 2013 approved the creation of an autonomous society registered and headquartered in Shillong with a fund allocation of ₹292 crore. The society was called North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach.
- Northeast part of India grows 67% of India’s bamboo.
- India has the world’s largest fields of bamboo. It grows on nearly 13% of the country’s forest land.
- The eight North-eastern States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura – grow 67% of India’s bamboo and have 45% of global bamboo reserves.
- Nearly 35 species of superior quality bamboos are found in the region.
Do you know?
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Bamboo Mission (NBM) is now under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
- Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC) under Ministry of Agriculture is implementing a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme called Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) in which National Bamboo Mission (NBM) is being implemented as a sub scheme.
Animal in news: Indian Roofed Turtles
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Conservation of Biodiversity and Animal
- Indian Roofed turtle – got its name because of the peculiar shape of its shell (carapace).
- It is a part of the Asian river turtle family, Geoemydidae. It is most commonly found in Southeast Asia (India, Bangladesh). It is locally known as the Kori Kaitta.
- IUCN – Least Concern
- Indian Roofed Turtles are usually found in temple ponds and were struggling to survive due to the pollution caused by devotees throwing oil, incense sticks, flowers and other ritual offerings into the small waterbody.
- Innovative idea helps revive these turtles – through tapping religious sentiments of devotees
- An idol of Vishnu in his Kurma (turtle) avatar was installed at the temple complex (Lota Devi temple, West Bengal), therefore devotees can place their offerings near the idol rather than directly polluting the pond.
India – Russia ties: Logistics agreement
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Relations
- India and Russia are in the process of concluding a logistics agreement
- The proposed agreement follows a series of such agreements India has signed since the first logistics agreement with the U.S.
- We already know that – India signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA), with the U.S. in August 2016 after a decade of negotiations.
- Since then it has concluded several such agreements with France, Oman, Philippines, Singapore and for access to the Sabang port in Indonesia. Australia too has sent a draft agreement.
Do you know?
- Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to military facilities for exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement simplifying logistical support and increasing operational turnaround of the military when operating away from India.
- India and Cyprus signed two agreements on combating money laundering and cooperation in the field of environment.
- @ Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) – China offers $60 bn aid to Africa – to boost industry, counter hunger and enhance security. China proposed Africa to tap new multilateral lenders such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the New Development Bank (NDB) of the emerging economies, as well as the Silk Road Fund (marshalled by China).
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
General Studies 3
- Indian Economy and issues relating to mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Indigenization of technology
The need for growth in Indian biosimilars
- Due to a soaring demand for generic drugs, India’s pharmaceutical producers emerged as world market leaders in this sector and were a major business success story in the 2000s.
- In the process, Indian producers made a valuable contribution to reducing costs and to expanding access to life-saving treatments for patients, both in emerging markets and in developed countries.
- Globally, and especially in developed countries, waves of consolidation among pharma retailers, stiffer competition from Chinese pharma manufacturers and wider acceptance of generic drug applications have combined to put downward pressure on drug prices.
- India’s stock market has reacted quite negatively to these developments, wiping nearly 20% off the value of Indian pharma stocks between August 2016 and August 2018.
- Given these adverse headwinds, it is imperative that India’s pharmaceutical manufacturers create new markets to restore market confidence in their growth prospects.
Some positive moves
- There is a new push to produce more so-called complex generics. These are hybrid medicines that often contain complex active pharmaceutical ingredients (the part of the drug that produces its effects) or formulations, or routes of delivery.
- Things are still at an early stage in this segment but the signs are promising, with Indian firms having succeeded in capturing 19% of the global market in complex generics thus far.
- Another, they would be well-advised to pursue is to expand their footprint in the biosimilars market.
- Biosimilars are the generic versions of biologics medicines made from animal or plant proteins as opposed to chemicals.
- Biologics are notable for targeting the underlying causes of diseases as opposed to just the symptoms, with fewer side effects.
- Biologics are important market disrupters because they are transforming how we treat diseases, including certain types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
- The growth in the biosimilars market is welcome from a human development standpoint because they are more affordable than biologics, the high cost of which often puts them out of reach of many patients.
- While it is encouraging to see Indian firms beginning to ramp up biosimilars production, there is a lot of room for additional growth. Biosimilars currently account for just $5 billion of the $240 billion global market in biologics.
- There is an alarming spike across developing countries in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. To take one example, diabetes is fast becoming an epidemic in developing countries, with rates rapidly catching up with those of the developed world.
- In India also, with 69 million diabetics in 2015, a number projected to exceed 100 million by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.
- The number of diabetics across the South-East Asia region, which includes Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia, rose more than fivefold between 1980 and 2014, WHO has reported.
- Therefore, promoting the production of complex generics and biosimilars can have a positive development impact given how targeted they are toward treating non-communicable diseases such as cancer, asthma, and arthritis.
- Governments can support growth in production of complex generics and biosimilars by clarifying the regulatory framework for them, which is still evolving in many countries.
- China is a recent example, where the government has identified biopharma, including biosimilars, as a priority area for the country.
- Biosimilars, like biologics, require a large investment outlay both because of the high cost of product development and regulatory compliance, and the significant amount of time it takes to bring a product to market.
- For private sector, partnerships can make for a more cost-efficient pipeline. For example, it is often in manufacturers’ best interest to forge partnerships with contract research organisations that have the scientific expertise to develop that specific product, and such other partners.
- They can partner up with companies that are specialised in commercialising and marketing these products and have acquired the know-how to meet the regulatory requirements.
- There are many ways that partnerships can be structured but the bottom line is that new business models that increase patients’ access to innovative and cost-effective treatments should be encouraged.
- It is increasingly clear that the segment of the pharmaceutical market where we will see demand grow the fastest in the coming years is products that treat non-communicable diseases.
- We should, therefore, strive to promote strong, indigenous producers of complex generics and biosimilars as this has enormous potential to improve public health in emerging markets.
Connecting the dots:
- Write a brief not on Role of India in global pharma market. Give an overview of opportunities and challenges ahead.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Indian Constitution- significant provisions
- Functions and responsibilities of the government
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
Protecting the dissenters
- Recent arrest of activists has started Political debate on right to dissent and right to ask questions on grounds of state accountability.
- India’s constitutional democracy is predicated on the people’s right to call state power to account.
Do you Know?
Right to Dissent
- The Supreme Court observed that “dissent is the safety valve of democracy”. Therefore, Right to dissent, right not to agree becomes very important aspect of any democratic institution
- The citizens’ have right to disagree with, denounce, and decry a situation or state of affairs that is unjust and oppressive.
- This pluralism of views and liberty to express any thought process within constitutional boundaries is one of the salient features of a democracy.
- Recently, while hearing a petition on the ban of protest on the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, the SC held that Right to peaceful protest is the fundamental right guaranteed under the constitution.
- This particular right is also subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, as well as public order.
- A distinguishing feature of any democracy is the space offered for legitimate dissent, which cannot be trampled by any executive action. Thus, the Court recognises that legitimate dissent is a distinguishable feature of any democracy.
- Also observed that, every individual or a group of individuals, whether they are minority or poor or marginalised, have the right to express their dissent to the government policies and fight their social circumstances.
- Protest strengthen representative democracy by enabling direct participation in public affairs where individuals and groups are able to;
- Express dissent and grievances
- Expose flaws in the governance
- Demand accountability from state authorities as well as powerful entities
Article 19 Freedom of speech
- The constitution under Article 19(1)(a) provides for freedom of speech and expression and also under Article 19(2) provides for reasonable restrictions on such freedom.
- Like other fundamental rights, it is not absolute and is subject to;
- Sovereignty and integrity of India
- Security of the state
- Friendly relations with foreign states
- Public order
- Decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court
- Defamation or incitement to an offence
- Law commission of India in its 267th report on “hate speech” suggested adding new provisions to make speech inciting hatred and speech that causes fear, alarm or provocation of violence, a criminal offence under Indian Penal Code (IPC).
- Hate speech is an expression which is likely to cause distress or offend other individuals on the basis of their association with a particular group or incite hostility toward them.
- In order to protect this group from discriminatory attitude and practices, it is necessary to curb such forms of expressions that have the potentials of inciting fear, hatred or violence and such speeches must be regulated by law.
- Hate speech can be curtailed under Article 19(2) on the grounds of public order, incitement to offence and security of the state.
- Section 124A of IPC defines sedition as “whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring hatred, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India, shall be punished for imprisonment for life. The disaffection includes disloyalty or all feelings of enmity.”
- In the kedarnath singh vs State of Bihar 1962, a constitutional bench ruled in favour of thee constitutional validity of Section 124A (sedition) in the IPC, but said that- a person could be prosecuted for sedition only if his acts caused “incitement to violence or intention or tendency to create public disorder or cause disturbance in public peace”.
- Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the government, with a view to obtain their alteration, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence of sedition.
- The course of democracy anywhere in the world is defined by events that test the resilience of democracy and also add to it.
- The philosophy of dissent and democracy has also inspired our freedom movement and defines India’s constitutional democracy, which is predicated on the people’s right to call state power to account, albeit within the constitutional framework.
Connecting the dots:
- What do you understand by sedition? Critically comment on the way the courts have interpreted the Section 124(A) of the penal code.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
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Q.1) Consider the following statements about Swachh Iconic Places
- Swachh Iconic Places campaign was initiated under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2016.
- Ajmer dargah is included among the Swachh Iconic Places.
- The Swachh Iconic Places – project envisioned by the Prime Minister is being coordinated by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.2) Which of the following statements about Bal Gangadhar Tilak is/are correct?
- He founded the Fergusson College in Pune.
- He was part of the extremist faction of Indian National Congress.
- He was associated with the Hindu Mahasabha.
Select the correct answer using code below
- 1 and 2
- Only 2
- 1 and 3
- 1,2 and 3
Q.3) Which of the following was termed as the ‘Green Gold’ in the Budget 2018-19?
- Electric Vehicles
- Tendu tree
- Bonds issued to mobilize funds for Green energy projects
Q.4) As per Indian law, Bamboo is taxonomically a
Q.5) Consider the following statements
- Bamboo is called as poor man’s timber.
- Nearly 35 species of superior quality bamboos are found in North-eastern States.
- India has the world’s largest fields of bamboo.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 2 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.6) In Union Budget 2018, government had allocated a whopping Rs 1,290 crore to promote the bamboo sector. The fund will be spent mainly through which among the below scheme –
- National Mission on Bamboo Application (NMBA)
- Green Gold Mission (GGM)
- Restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM)
- North East Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR)
Q.7) Consider the below statements with respect to National Bamboo Mission:
- It is under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA)
- It is under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)
- The Mission is expected to bring more than 100000 ha area under plantation during the period 2018-19 & 2019-20.
Which of the statements above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
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