IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 11th September 2018
Good Governance: Delhi launches doorstep delivery of govt. services
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Governance; Government schemes and policies
- Delhi government launched its ambitious project to deliver public services at the doorstep of residents.
- From driving licences to marriage certificates, Delhiites can now apply for 40 government documents to be delivered at their homes for a fee of ₹50 per service.
- The applicant would have to call 1076 and fix an appointment with a mobile sahayak, who will go to their home and help with filling forms, payment of fees and collection of documents.
- The mobile sahayak would then submit the documents at the government office concerned, which would post the certificate or licence once issued.
Culture: Martial Arts Gatka (Shastar Vidya)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Indian Art and Culture
- Originating from the state of Punjab, Gatka is believed to be a battle technique created by Sikh warriors during the martial period of great Sikh Gurus.
- A style of stick fighting between two or more practitioners, Gatka is a toned-down version of the deadlier Shastar Vidya, the fighting style of the fearsome Akali Nihangs, the blue-turbaned sect of Sikh fighters banned by the British after the Anglo-Sikh wars.
- The sharp swords of Shastar Vidya have been replaced by wooden sticks (soti) and shields (farri) in Gatka.
Pic: A Sikh youth performs ‘Gatka’ (martial arts) during a religious procession at the Golden Temple in Amritsar
Changes in ASI Act opposed
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Heritage and Culture; Conservation of monuments; Urbanisation issues
- As per original Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (AMASR Act 1958), an area of 100 mtrs from protected boundary has been declared as prohibited area and an area of 200 mtrs further beyond prohibited limit has been declared as regulated area, in which construction activities are regulated
- New constructions are not allowed in prohibited area. However, no restriction on sale and purchase of land.
- Concern: However, a recent note of the culture ministry to the cabinet has a proposal to amend the law that accords protection to heritage sites in the country.
Ministry of Culture’s note suggests following amendments
- It suggests giving legal powers to the Central government with respect to new construction in protected sites by superceding existing bodies like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and National Monuments’ Authority (NMA) respectively.
- In other words, the amendments suggested tends to do away with the prohibited zones around protected national monuments whenever it chooses to do so for some supposed “public” purpose.
If above amendment or suggestion is implemented, several new constructions could happen in the immediate vicinity of protected properties of national importance.
However, the government had announced that such restrictions on new construction within the “prohibited area” adversely impact various public works and developmental projects of the Central Government. This amendment will thus pave the way for certain constructions, limited strictly to public works and projects essential to the people, within the prohibited area and benefit the public at large.
- Historians have opposed changes to the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. (AMASR Act)
- The amendment proposes to allow the construction of Centre-approved public infrastructure within a 100 metre radius of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments.
- India is set to gain the top slot in farmed shrimp production, overtaking China in 2019-20.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Bilateral agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
Too close for comfort? (2+2 meeting)
- The India-U.S. 2+2 meeting between the Defence and Foreign Ministers of the two countries, held recently, appeared to be a singularly one-sided affair.
- While carefully analysing the outcomes of the talks and the future direction of India-U.S. relations, it is difficult to get overjoyed by heart-warming American phrases like “India is a consequential emerging partner” or Washington naming and shaming Pakistan.
Buy American: Trade relations
- The U.S.’s insistence that India should bring down its oil imports from Iran to ‘zero’ in deference to the restrictions imposed by its unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
- The S. recommends that India buy American oil to make up the deficit. As a matter of fact, U.S. oil exports to India have more than doubled in the past year, thereby helping a booming domestic crude oil industry of US.
- Washington seeks to impose the punitive provisions of a U.S. federal law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on countries dealing with Russian defence and intelligence sectors, making it difficult for India to buy the much-needed S-400 missile system.
- For a country like India, with close to 60% of its weapons systems originating from Russia, this would be a huge setback, it’s clear that the U.S. would like India to buy its weapons instead.
- There is still no clarity on whether India’s request for a “one-time waiver” was granted by the U.S. to buy Russian weapons at the 2+2 meeting; the joint statement is silent on this.
- In the run-up to the 2+2 meeting, the U.S. also put considerable pressure on India to reduce the bilateral trade deficit, which is in India’s favour, by buying more American goods.
Do you know?
The four foundational agreements for military cooperation with US are;
- The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)
- The Logistics Supply Agreement (LSA) or what is now called the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)
- The Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) or what is now called the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) to suggest a more India-specific agreement
- The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
India signed the GSOMIA in 2002 and the LEMOA in 2016. The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) is yet to be signed.
- During the 2+2 meeting, the two countries also signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement, or COMCASA. The agreement is one of the four considered to be “foundational” for a viable India-U.S. military relationship.
- It is necessary to take stock of the national security implications of these agreements.
Arguments in support of COMCASA
- It will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilise its existing U.S.-origin platforms.
- India’s U.S.-sourced P-8I and C-130J aircraft had to use low-tech communication equipment as the U.S. could not provide India with such technologies due to domestic legal restrictions, unless India signed COMCASA.
- In the absence of COMCASA, and the attendant high-tech equipment, the interoperability between Indian and U.S. forces would be severely hampered.
Concerns related to COMCASA
- The India-specific COMCASA is not a public document, we do not know the scope of the agreement. Therefore, the government needs to clarify several concerns.
- There is the issue of visits by U.S. inspectors to Indian bases to carry out inspections on the COMCASA-safeguarded equipment sold to India.
- Since we do not know how intrusive this inspection would be, it is useful to look at the language from a similar agreement signed between the U.S. and South Korea in 2008.
- No doubt, South Korea is a U.S. military ally, which India is not. So one hopes that the provisions of inspections would be less intrusive. But there is no getting away from the fact that COMCASA will apply end-use monitoring and reconfiguration restrictions on India as well.
- In any case, by signing COMCASA and by agreeing to reduce the purchase of Russian weapon systems (in line with CAATSA), India has implicitly accepted the extraterritorial application of U.S. law on itself.
- The original End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) was agreed to between India and the U.S., in 2009, New Delhi has now taken the application of U.S. federal law on India to a completely new level.
- EUMA had reportedly ensured that U.S. inspectors would stay away from Indian bases: is that ensured under COMCASA as well? Moreover, did India push for a U.S. presidential waiver for receiving COMSEC equipment and materials without having to sign COMCASA.
- Whether the installation of U.S. communication systems would compromise the secrecy of Indian military communication systems.
- The debate ay start on the utility of such India-U.S. agreements since, at the end of the day, the two countries are not likely to be deployed alongside each other in a conflict situation.
- Even though the “Joint Statement on the Inaugural India-U.S. 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue” did not explicitly mention China, the section on the Indo-Pacific region implicitly referred to it.
- Both sides said in a joint statement that they had discussed trade issues, cooperation on fighting terrorism, advancing “a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region” and promoting sustainable “debt-financing” in the region.
- India must not compromise her economic and strategic interests under the pressure of US, nor should distance herself from US.
- India should make use of American assistance in strengthening its national security, but there should be more clarity on what it entails.
- India is an Asian country, with several Southern Asian security challenges, and its ability to meet those challenges with the help of an offshore (and declining) superpower is at best limited, and counter-productive at worst.
- The India-U.S. relationship shouldn’t be allowed to define India’s geopolitical character, strategic future or the limits of its other bilateral relationships.
- In a world that is far more chaotic than ever since Independence, India must keep its options open and be multi-aligned, even as the U.S. forms a key part in that scheme of things.
Connecting the dots:
- Comment on significance of India US relations in era of rising Asia.
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Ending TB: “Political Declaration”
- After decades spent battling the scourge of tuberculosis (TB) in developing countries, 2018 might be the year that it is finally accorded the gravitas it deserves.
- On September 26, the UN General Assembly will, for the first time, address TB in a High-Level Meeting and likely release a Political Declaration, endorsed by all member nations, to galvanise investment and action to meet the global target of eliminating TB worldwide by 2035.
Do you know?
- The Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium causes TB. It is spread through the air when a person with TB (whose lungs are affected) coughs, sneezes, spits, laughs, or talks.
- TB is, by and large, easily diagnosable and curable. It is unacceptable that it nevertheless remains the leading causes of death from any single infectious agent worldwide.
- Each day, thousands of people with TB die, often because of inequitable access to quality diagnosis and treatment.
- In addition, the rapid emergence of drug-resistant forms of TB (DR-TB) in many countries brings a fresh set of needs including new and comprehensive diagnostic tests and second-line TB drugs, and health systems trained anew to manage DR-TB.
TB in India
- India not only accounts for a fifth of the world’s TB burden, it also has the largest number of people living with multidrug-resistant TB.
- India has fought to retain its status as a maker and distributor of generic medicines, thereby protecting the right to health of people in developing countries.
- Indian patent law contains important provisions that help protect and promote public health goals — for example, by overcoming bids by big pharma to evergreen patents of old drugs, through compulsorily licensing for certain drugs, and by permitting pre- and post-grant opposition to patents to challenge unfair patenting practices by big pharma.
Meaning of Elimination of a disease
- Elimination means reducing the number to one case per million people per year.
- It will be impossible without universal, equitable access to affordable, quality TB diagnostics and treatment for anyone who needs it.
Omissions in Political Declaration
- Countries may avail of the various flexibilities under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights;
- Countries may invoke the Doha Declaration to compulsorily license drugs for use in public health emergencies.
- The option to de-link the pricing of new TB drugs from the costs incurred in their research and development.
Criticism of Political Declaration
- Due to above mentioned omissions; the latest draft is a watered-down version of the original that actively committed to upholding access to affordable generics for all.
- Much to the disappointment of global civil society, issues around access to diagnostics and drugs have been considerably diluted in the most recent draft of the Political Declaration.
- India aims to eliminate TB by 2025, ahead of the global targets. These targets cannot be achieved without access to affordable, quality diagnostics/ drugs.
- Unless India assumes a leadership role to restore every possible option to protect universal access to TB drugs in the Political Declaration, 2018 may end up being just another brick in the wall.
Connecting the dots:
- TB remains one of the leading causes of death from any single infectious agent worldwide. Comment on the national and global efforts to eliminate the disease by 2035.
Note: For more details and FAQ about TB in India, visit: Central Tuberculosis Division, Government of India
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
Q.1) Gatka, a traditional martial art associated with
- None of the above
Q.2) Match List I (Martial Arts) with List II (Associated States) and select the correct answer with the help of the codes given below:
(Martial Arts) (Associated State)
- Thang-Ta A. Andhra Pradesh
- Gatka B. Tamil Nadu
- Silambam C. Punjab
- Karra Samu/Kathi Samu D. Manipur
Select the correct answer:
Q.3) Which of the following statement is incorrect?
- Andhra Pradesh is the leading fish producer of India.
- In India, production from marine fishing is higher than inland fishing.
- Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh is known as the shrimp capital of India.
- Apatani tribe of Arunachal Pradesh practice fishing in their paddy fields.
Q.4) Health Ministries, NGOs and private sector representatives from 120 countries have signed the Moscow declaration of WHO. The target of declaration is
- To eradicate polio from the world till 2030
- To eradicate vector borne infections
- To eradicate Tuberculosis by 2030
- To end deaths by hunger in the world by 2030
Q.5) Consider the following with regard to Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB)
- Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by Virus
- MDR-TB is a type of tuberculosis which is unresponsive to at least two of the first line of anti-TB drugs isoniazid and rifampicin
- Bedaquiline is a medication used in the treatment of MDR-TB
Choose the appropriate code
- 2 only
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- 1, 2 and 3
Much must change in Kerala
Cause for caution
The one who reached out to China
A foreign offence
To put Kerala back on its feet
Raja Mandala: Reconnecting with Europe