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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th January 2019

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  • January 31, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th January 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


2008 Assam bombings: NDFB founder, nine others get life term

Part of: GS Mains II – Internal Security and North East Security issues

Key pointers:

  • NDFB stands for National Democratic Front of Bodoland
  • NDFB is an armed separatist outfit which seeks to obtain a sovereign Bodoland for the Bodo people.
  • It is designated as a terrorist organisation by the Government of India.
  • The group has carried out several attacks in Assam, targeting non-Bodo civilians as well as the security forces.
  • NDFB founder – Ranjan Daimary
  • 2008 serial blasts in Assam had killed at least 88 people and injured more than 500.
  • NDFB has a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government

Role of Bangladesh

  • NDFB founder Ranjan Daimary was arrested in Bangladesh in December 2009
  • Daimary was handed over to the Indian authorities in 2010

Conservation of Tigers

Part of: GS Mains III – Environment and Biodiversity; Animal Conservation

In news:

  • At a conference organized by National Tiger Conservation Authority, Global Tiger Forum and representatives from a group of countries signed a declaration to double tiger numbers by 2022.
  • However, Global experts and officials in the government suggest that India must prepare for a new challenge — of reaching the limits of its management capacity.
  • As habitats shrink, the country is nearing its capacity to manage its tigers. In other words, India can’t handle more big cats.
  • Officially, India had 2,226 tigers as of 2014. An ongoing census is expected to reveal an update to these numbers.
  • Concerns – Habitat loss, low availability of prey

Afghan Peace Process

Part of: GS Mains II – International Relations; Security issues

In news:

  • U.S. declared it has agreed upon peace framework with Taliban
  • Envoy said militants have vowed not to allow the use of Afghanistan for terrorism
  • After nine years of halting efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban, the draft framework, though preliminary, is the biggest tangible step toward ending the two-decade war.
  • The next set of contingencies would see the U.S. agreeing to withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan, but only in return for the Taliban’s entering talks with the Afghan government and agreeing to a lasting ceasefire.

Non-communicable diseases top killers: WHO

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health issue

In news:

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — mainly cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer — continue to be the top killers.
  • Containing the NCDs has been listed by the WHO as its health goal for this year.
  • The four ‘major’ NCDs are caused, to a large extent, by four modifiable behavioural risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and harmful use of alcohol.
  • The NCDs disproportionately affect the poor, impoverish families, and place a growing burden on health care systems.

Do you know?

  • The Lancet indicates that eating fibre-rich foods reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16% to 24%.
  • A higher fibre intake is also associated with lower bodyweight, systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol when compared with lower intake.
  • Doctors then recommend — eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, avoid oversized portions which causes weight gain, at least half of your grains should be whole grains, limit consumption of food high in trans fats.

Miscellaneous

Antibiotic resistance genes in High Arctic region

In news:

  • A new study has found traces of antibiotic resistance genes in the High Arctic region, including the ‘superbug’ or the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 protein (coded by blaNDM-1 gene), which was first detected in urban India in 2008.
  • Researchers who took soil samples in 2013 from the Kongsfjorden region of Svalbard – a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean – found “comparatively localised” levels of blaNDM-1, which poses no health threat.
  • However, they say the “detection reinforces how rapidly AR (antibiotic resistance) can globalise”, the study states.

(MAINS FOCUS)


WELFARE/SOCIAL ISSUE

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Success and Capable even if Blind

Context:

  • In Surendra Mohan v. Union of India, Supreme Court upheld the legality of the Tamil Nadu government’s policy of reserving the post of civil judge only for people whose percentage of blindness does not exceed 40-50%, resulting in the exclusion of the applicant who are blind more than 50%.
  • It ruled that a judicial officer has to possess a reasonable amount of sight and hearing to discharge his/her functions. Therefore, the apex held that the government’s decision was rational and reasonable.
  • It accepted the claim that impaired vision makes it impossible to perform the functions required of judicial officers.
  • It also accepted that asking a blind judicial officer to perform such administrative functions as – recording dying declarations and conducting inquiries – can result in avoidable complications.

The below article provides – Why the above SC ruling has to be regarded as one of the darkest in India’s disability rights movement.

  1. The view that a totally blind person cannot thrive as a judge contradict with several examples of successful judges who are blind.

Examples –

  • Former South African Constitutional Court judge Zak Yacoob refused to accept the notion that one needs to be sighted to assess a witness’s attitude or appearance as being nonsensical.
  • According to U.S. Court of Appeals DC Circuit judge David S. Tatel, it is neither fair nor accurate to impose low expectations on what blind lawyers can do.
  • ‘View that a blind person lacks the wherewithal to become a judge is an unfair characterisation’ – Former San Diego County Court judge David Szumowski
  • Yousaf Saleem – became Pakistan’s first blind civil judge last year
  1. Court’s unreasoned assertion is an outcome of their ignorance about the capabilities of the disabled.

Blind people have proved their capacity in different walks of life.

Blind persons have able to become successful writer, study computer science, successful civil servant.

  • Beno Zephine – first 100% visually challenged Indian Foreign Service Officer
  • Yousaf Saleem – Blind civil Judge
  • Derek Rabelo – The Blind Surfer
  • Christopher Downey – Blind Architect
  • Pete Ecker – Blind Photographer

(Link: Blind, Bold And IFS: The Incredible Story of Beno Zaphine)

Conclusion:

Supreme Court itself had noted in 2017 that – “A lawyer can be just as effective in a wheelchair, as long as he/she has access to the courtroom and the legal library, as well as to whatever other places and material or equipment that are necessary for her to do her job well.”

Supreme Court Judgment in this case (V. Surendra Mohan v. Union of India) appear simply not to have bothered to notice the competence of the millions of disabled people who inhabit this world.

Institutional display of pure and simple discrimination dressed up as legal reasoning will be reflective of what kind of a society we hope to be. Thus there should be no discrimination to disabled particularly from State Institution.

Also such ill conceived judgment is in violation of India’s commitment to SDG goal and Article 41 of Indian Constitution (Article 41 directs to the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.)

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you agree with the recent Supreme Court’s ruling that people who are blind more than 50% should be excluded from becoming a judicial officer? Comment.
  • Disability is a matter of perspective. Comment. What measures have been taken by the government to create a conducive ecosystem for the disabled community.
  • Essay – Disability is not an obstacle to success.

HEALTH ISSUE

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections 
  • Health issue – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

Improving India’s Healthcare

Concerns:

  • Increase in population growth, along with rising life expectancy, provides the burden of chronic diseases.
  • Contribution of Communicable Diseases to deaths in India is 27.5% and contribution of Non-Communicable Diseases is 61.8%.
  • Just 1.2% of GDP is spent on health sector. Consecutive governments have failed to spend more on health sector.
  • Preventive health is not considered as important. This is where government and policy makers have to come in and make it impossible for public to access junk food, high salted food, and sugar food.
  • Nearly 60 million people are pushed into poverty every year. (Thanks to Out-of-Pocket Expenditure)
  • India’s public health workforce comes from an estimated mere 51 colleges that offer a graduate programme in public health. (compared to 238 universities in US)

Need of the hour:

  • Tackling these concerns/issues requires an interdisciplinary approach.
  • In other words, public health system should range from research, global health, health communication, urban planning, health policy, environmental science, behavioural sciences, healthcare management, financing, and behavioural economics.
  • India also has a diversity problem. A diverse student population is necessary to create an interdisciplinary workforce.
  • A well organised public health system with supporting infrastructure.
  • Strong academic programmes.
  • Investments in health and social services
  • Health communication – Improve the health literacy of the population
  • India certainly has a serious problem with health literacy and it is the responsibility of public health professionals to close this gap.
  • A dedicated council for public health to synergistically work with all agencies such as the public works department, the narcotics bureau, water management, food safety, sanitation, urban and rural planning, housing and infrastructure to promote population-level health.
  • Develop curriculum and provide license and accreditation to schools to promote interdisciplinary curriculum in public health.
  • Ayushman Bharat Scheme – To make healthcare inclusive to all, Government launched this comprehensive insurance programme

Connecting the dots:

  • “Only healthy people can build a strong and prosperous nation”. Comment.
  • Although the private sector can play a constructive role in the provisioning healthcare services, the overall health policy discourse must retain the ‘public good’ character of the health sector. Comment.

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