Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th January 2019

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  • January 13, 2019
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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th January 2019



Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) and Gaganyaan

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space missions; India’s achievements

In news:

  • ISRO to start its work on ‘Gaganyaan’ soon at the newly created Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) based in Bengaluru.
  • ‘Gaganyaan’ is the project which aims to send a manned mission to space by 2022.

Person in news: Unnikrishnan Nair (named ISRO director)

  • Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, announced the appointment of Unnikrishnan Nair — who led ISRO’s Advanced Space Transportation Programme at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) and has already worked in the area as the director of the Human Space Flight Project — as the director of the new centre.

Do you know?

  • The actual flight with crew is targeted to happen by December 2021 — to meet the Prime Minister’s goal of August 2022, India’s 75th Independence anniversary.
  • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) – is popularly dubbed as ISRO’s trusted workhorse

Vote on account

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and issues related to it; Union Budget

In news:

  • The Budget to be presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on February 1, 2019 is likely to be a vote on account or an interim Budget.
  • An outgoing government presents only an interim Budget or seeks a vote on account. It leaves it to the next government to present the full Budget.

Do you know?

  • As per the Constitution, all the revenue received by the Union government and the loans raised by it are parked in the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • The constitution says that no money can be withdrawn by the government from the Consolidated Fund of India except under appropriation made by law. For that an appropriation bill is passed during the Budget process.
  • Since, the appropriation bill may take time to pass through the Parliament and become a law, the government would need permission to spend even a single penny from April 1 when the new financial year starts.
  • Vote on account is the permission to withdraw money from the Consolidated Fund of India in that period, usually two months.

About Vote on Account

  • Vote on account is the interim permission of the parliament to the government to spend money.
  • It is just an interim permission to spend money as against a full Budget which is an elaborate financial statement of expenditure and receipts including changes in taxes and government policies.
  • In the election year when the elections are scheduled a few months into the new financial year, the government prefers to seek a vote on account instead of presenting a full Budget because if the government changes after elections it is not fair to deny it the right to design its own Budget for the remaining part of the year.
  • Though vote-on-account is a temporary measure, it does need the approval of Parliament and it is usually passed without much discussion.
  • The vote on account typically does not seek funds for major projects or new initiatives. This usually awaits the presentation of the full Budget.
  • One of the key features of a vote on account is that it usually does not contain any direct tax proposals that would impact people, as that requires amendments to the Finance Bill. (Therefore, any decrease/increase or exemption/inclusion related to income tax will be on hold if there’s a vote on account.)

Final Crux:

  • Vote on Account is a temporary measure which occurs in the run-up to every general election.
  • The Parliament approves the outgoing government’s budget and gives it spending rights till the end of the financial year
  • By approving the interim budget, the Parliament passes a vote on account to help the government meet administration expenses till the next full budget


  1. Renuka dam

In news:

  • Centre signs pact with 5 States on Renuka dam (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh)
  • To restart construction of the Renuka multipurpose dam project in the Upper Yamuna Basin.
  • The Renuka dam project has been conceived as a storage project on the Giri river (a tributary of the Yamuna) in Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
  1. Chardham
  • The four towns of Uttarakhand – Yamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath – are considered as Chardham.

Why in news?

  • Government had proposed to provide all-weather connectivity to the four holy towns of Uttarakhand.
  • However, SC had issued a stay order for Chardham projects till the environment clearance is taken by the authorities.



TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, etc. 
  • Health and Social Security

Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY)


Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) or Ayushman Bharat

  • The scheme aims to provide cashless treatment to beneficiaries identified through the Central Socio-Economic Caste Census.
  • The scheme covers 1,350 medical conditions ranging from caesarean section to coronary stenting and joint replacement.
  • It is a government-sponsored health insurance scheme.
  • It will provide free treatment for up to Rs.5 lakh a family a year in any government or empanelled private hospitals all over India.

Do you know?

  • PMJAY has completed 100 days.
  • The project is billed as the world’s largest state-funded health scheme.
  • The medical journal, Lancet, has praised the prime minister for prioritising universal healthcare through the PMJAY.

Key facts and concerns:

  • India ranks as low as 145th among 195 countries in healthcare quality and accessibility, behind even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • The country spends only 1.3 per cent of its GDP on health, way less than the global average of 6 per cent.
  • Over 70 per cent of the total healthcare expenditure is accounted for by the private sector. (Poor public healthcare infrastructure)
  • Health care bills are the single biggest cause of debt in India, with 39 million people being forced into poverty every year. (High out-of-pocket expenditure)
  • Poor doctor to patient ratio: WHO recommends one doctor for a population of 1,000. (1:1000); India’s doctor to patient ratio (1:11000).
  • India falls woefully short of number of hospital beds compared to WHO standards.

Analysis: Is PMJAY successful?

  • On paper, the scheme looks good but the ground reality is different.
  • PMJAY can succeed only if the government increases its share of expenditure dramatically.
  • Also without improving the doctor to patient ratio and increasing the number of hospital beds the treatment under the scheme cannot be done.

We read from yesterday article that government proposes to augment its share of hospitals by upgrading existing facilities and setting up of more institutions in the line of AIIMS. (Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana)

Through PMSSY, government aims at correcting the imbalances in the availability of affordable healthcare facilities in the different parts of the country in general, and augmenting facilities for quality medical education in the under-served States in particular.

Crux – PMJAY is one step towards Universal Health coverage. It is critical for reducing the disease burden of the country. India spends just 1.4% of GDP on healthcare which is less than even some developing countries. It should increase the funding and involve the private sector effectively.

Other drawbacks:

  • The government has kept aside only Rs 3,000 crore for the PMJAY this year against the expected outflow of Rs 11,000 crore. It is difficult to expect adequate delivery of healthcare under PMJAY.
  • Experts and Critics argue that PMJAY might fail too similar to the failure of previous government-run health insurance schemes like Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna.
  • The intended beneficiaries of PMJAY are masons, contract workers and farm workers who cannot afford to take off much time for treatment at government or private PMJAY-recognised hospitals.
  • OPD treatment is not covered under the scheme.
  • Another issue is difficulty in locating beneficiaries.
  • Secondary-level hospitals like district hospitals and medical colleges have poor infrastructure, inadequate equipment and lack specialist manpower.
  • There is also a gross shortage of tertiary care hospitals in the public sector with PGI, AIIMS, SGPGI and NIMHANS being among the few that can be relied upon.
  • These public hospitals are functioning beyond their capacity with waiting lists of one or two years for elective surgeries.

Realising the inadequacies of the public sector, PMJAY has relied heavily on the private sector.

Under the PMJAY, the private hospitals have to get registered and fulfill the minimum requirements. They are also expected to expand their facilities and add hospital beds.

Concerns with private sector

  • Most consumers complain of rising costs, lack of transparency and unethical practices in the private sector.
  • Private hospitals don’t have adequate presence in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and there is a trend towards super specialisation in Tier-1 cities.


PMJAY has created an excellent opportunity for the country to improve its health care.

While the contribution of the private sector will be the key to its success, it’s the will and zeal of the government to implement it that will make or break the scheme.

Today, nearly 80% of the healthcare in India is provided by the private healthcare system and to meet the burgeoning healthcare needs of Indian population through value-based medicine, the country needs a synchronised effort by both the private and public sectors.

Connecting the dots:


TOPIC:General studies 2 and 3

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, etc. 
  • Social security and Welfare schemes
  • Economic Development – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment;
  • Inclusive growth and Challenges of inequality.

Universal Basic Income


According to the Economic Survey,

  • The idea of Universal Basic Income is “conceptually appealing”, a “radical new vision,” and the “shortest path to eliminating poverty.”
  • A UPI has three key characteristics: every citizen receives cash payments, these payments are unconditional, and each individual is free to spend these funds as they wish.

UBI has also been hailed by both left-leaning thinkers as well as those on the right.

  • John Kenneth Galbraith (Leftist) says UBI can foster social justice and equal opportunity.
  • Milton Friedman (Right) says UBI restores individual choice and freedom and reigning in the influence of the state.

Key pointers:

  • India has made considerable progress in bringing down poverty from about 70% of the population at the time of independence to about 22% in 2011-12 (Tendulkar Committee estimates).
  • More can be achieved if targeted schemes run by central and state governments are effective. (Issues – Data manipulation, leakages, poor and vulnerable are left out, while rich reaping undeserved benefits, middlemen, corruption etc.)
  • Therefore, ‘targeting’ seems both inefficient and inequitable.

Positives of UBI

  • UBI envisages an uncompromised social safety net.
  • It seeks to assure a dignified life for everyone.
  • In a global economy buffeted by uncertainties on account of globalisation, technological change, and automation, UBI is expected to play a key role.

How UBI works?

  • A basic income is a regular, periodic cash payment delivered unconditionally to all citizens on an individual basis, without requirement of work or willingness to work.
  • The five broad features of such schemes are: payments at periodic regular intervals (not one-off grants), payments in cash (not food vouchers or service coupons), payments to individuals, universality, and
  • Typically, UBI would require subsumption of other subsidies and allowances in order to free up resources so that a particular amount can be directed to people on a periodic basis.
  • The differences among the several models being tried out across geographies relate mainly to the scale of the project, quantum of income, source of funding, and cuts in other transfers.

UBI policies in other countries:

  • Finland recently concluded a two-year experiment on its effects on unemployed citizens, which commenced in January 2017.
  • Government of Ontario, Canada, had announced a plan to test a kind of unconditional income guarantee, and enrolled participants in three areas of the province for a guaranteed income for up to three years.
  • Some cities in the Netherlands have launched municipal-level trials.
  • Barcelona in Spain has tested several potential changes to its anti-poverty programmes, including unconditional cash payments.

There are some non-governmental attempts to launch privately-funded basic income experiments on a large scale.

In news:

  • Sikkim is set to become the first state in India to roll out Universal Basic Income (UBI). It aims to implement the scheme by 2022 and has already started the process to introduce the unconditional direct cash transfers.
  • Sikkim appears to be the ideal testing ground for UBI.
  • Reasons: It is a surplus power generating state, which exports nearly 90% of the 2,200 MW that its hydel projects produce — ensuring a steady revenue stream that other states typically lack. It has a literacy rate of 98% and a BPL population way below the national average.
  • Sikkim has indicated that it will do away with most subsidies before launching its UBI scheme. (Though subsuming about 950 central sector and centrally sponsored sub-schemes in the country is a difficult task)

Do you know?

  • About 950 central sector and centrally sponsored sub-schemes accounts for about 5% of GDP by Budget allocation.
  • The top 11 schemes accounts for about 50% of the budgetary allocation — the food subsidy or Public Distribution System (PDS) is the largest programme, followed by the urea subsidy and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The criticisms

  • None of the places where UBI has been tried have levels of income disparity that exist in India. So, while the idea might work in Sikkim, it might not in, say, Bihar.
  • According to some Economists, dismantling centrally sponsored and central sector schemes such as Mid-Day Meal, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, National Health Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, MGNREGS, and PDS could be counterproductive.
  • World Bank had suggested for reading the policy of basic income “through the lens of ‘progressive universalism’”.
  • The reason for maintaining conditional social assistance was to “prioritize those at the bottom of the [income] distribution”. However, UBI is contrary to it. It becomes very important to pinpoint those “who are the most vulnerable, where they live, and how vulnerable they are” if the program has to succeed.

Connecting the dots:


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


  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
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Q.1) What term is used for the estimate of advance payment to the government to carry on its work till the passing of the appropriation bill?

  1. Vote on Credit
  2. Finance Bill
  3. Vote on Account
  4. Supplementary budget

Q.2) After the general discussion of Budget, a Vote on Account is passed. What is the purpose of ‘Vote on Account’?

  1. For the government to function, two months advance grant is passed before passing the budget.
  2. To get consent of opposition for passing of Budget
  3. To discuss the total expenditure of the government in previous year
  4. To get the money passed from the contingency fund

Q.3) The budget consists of two types of expenditure—the expenditure ‘charged’ upon the Consolidated Fund of India and the expenditure ‘made’ from the Consolidated Fund of India. Consider the following statements regarding the expenditure ‘charged’ upon Consolidated Fund of India:

  1. It is non-votable by the parliament and it can only be discussed.
  2. Emoluments and allowances of the President and other expenditure relating to his office are charged upon Consolidated Fund of India.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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


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