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

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  • February 12, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th February 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


60% children adopted in India between 2015 and 2018 are girls

In news:

  • Data from the Ministry of Women and Child Development show that of the 11,649 children adopted, 6,962 were girls and 4,687 boys.
  • Female child happens to be the first choice when it comes to adoption.
  • The number of female children placed for in-country adoptions and inter-country adoptions between 2015 and 2018 are relatively higher than male children.
  • All the figures put together, female children comprise almost 60% of all in-country adoptions. When it came to inter-country adoptions, the number of female children was even higher: 69%.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/02/12/CNI/Chennai/TH/5_07/42a82dba_0930fe31_101_mr.jpg


PCSK-9 gene mutation: a way to fight bad cholesterol

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Science and Technology and its role in health; Health issue

In news:

  • Use of PCSK9 inhibitors (PCSK9) helps in lowering cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
  • The PCSK9 are a new class of injectable drugs that reportedly reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol levels by up to 60% when combined with a statin (another class of drugs prescribed to help lower cholesterol levels).
  • The discovery of cholesterol-lowering mutations in a human gene called PCSK9 led to the development of the most promising new drugs against heart disease since statins.

Do you know?

  • Geneticist Helen Hobbs and her colleague Geneticist Jonathan Cohen, found that when people had a mutation in PCSK9, they ended up with lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol.
  • Through this mechanism, the mutation protected people against heart disease, seemingly without side effects.
  • In 2016, Ms. Hobbs was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for her work.
  • Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, abbreviated as LDL-c, is considered the ‘bad’ variant of cholesterol as it contributes to plaque deposition, leading to the hardening and narrowing of arteries or ‘atherosclerosis’ (thickening of artery walls owing to accumulation of white blood cells).

Miscellaneous:

Examples of Competitive Populism

Context:

  • In previous DNA, we discussed about the term “Competitive Populism”.
  • Vice-President had expressed his displeasure over populist measures, which according to him may have short-term political gains, but lead to long-term economic problems as they are “unproductive”.

In news: (Examples of populist schemes)

  • Ahead of poll, T.N. govt. has dished out ₹2,000 to every BPL family and this post-budget announcement to cost the State ₹1,200 cr.
  • Last month, the T.N. govt. distributed ₹1,000 as Pongal gift to most ration card-holders, resulting in an outgo of around ₹1,900 crore.

NSCN(I-M) appoints chairman after 3 years

In news:

  • The Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN(I-M) has appointed a chief almost three years after the death of its founder-chairman Isak Chishi Swu.
  • Qhehezu Tuccu was appointed as the chairman and Tongmeth Konyak as vice-chairman.

About NSCN

  • The NSCN was formed in January 1980 by extremists who did not accept the Shillong Accord of 1975 between New Delhi and the Naga National Council that had been fighting a separatist war since the 1950s.
  • But the NSCN split in 1988, one led by the Myanmar-based S.S. Khaplang and the other by Isak-Muivah.

Do you know?

  • The NSCN(I-M) has been pursuing a peace process with the Indian government but a final settlement has been elusive.
  • The Khaplang faction of the NSCN too joined the peace process in 2001 but walked out of it in March 2015.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Debate over post retirment jobs for judges

Context:

  • Appointments of Judges within a short span of their retirements have raised quite a few eyebrows.
  • The below article deals with the debate – ‘Should judges opt for post-retirement jobs or should they not’?

Why Judges should opt for post-retirement jobs

(Post-retirement jobs: Pros)

  • The Constitution does not specifically bar judges from taking up any post-retirement assignment.
  • Most of the post-retirement posts are generally constitutional or of quasi-judicial bodies, whose laws more often than not mandate that only retired judges can occupy them.
  • Statutes of some tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies mandate the appointment of retired judges.
  • Unlike abroad, a judge of the higher judiciary in India retires at a comparatively young age. So he or she is capable of many more years of productive work.
  • The valuable experience and insights that competent and honest judges acquire during their service period cannot be wasted after retirement.

Why Judges should not opt for immediate post-retirement jobs?

(Post-retirement jobs: Cons)

  • The immediate appointments suggest that decisions regarding their post-retirement assignments had already been taken by the respective governments even during the tenure of the judges. (Nepotism/Favouritism)
  • It casts a cloud over judicial decisions rendered during their tenure. The sanctity of their judgments is questioned, irrespective of their merits.
  • Pre-retirement judgments are influenced by a desire for a post-retirement job. (May lead to biased judgments)
  • Judges accepting jobs under the executive certainly creates situations of conflicts of interest. It tends to undermine public faith in judicial independence.
  • Creates a dent on public confidence in judicial independence. (Erosion of credibility of the judiciary or erosion of judicial independence)

Do you know?

  • As many as 70 out of 100 Supreme Court retired judges have taken up some or the other assignments.

The way ahead:

  • Law Commission has consistently maintained that judges accepting employment under the government after retirement was undesirable.
  • Many experts have suggested that there should be a minimum cooling-off period between retirement and a new assignment to prevent conflict of interest.
  • An amendment to the Constitution can be done by incorporating a provision similar to Articles 148 or 319.
  • A special law can also be passed by Parliament prohibiting retired judges from taking up any appointment for two years.

Article 148 (4) – The Comptroller and Auditor General shall not be eligible for further office either under the Government of India or under the Government of any State after he has ceased to hold his office.

Article 319 – the Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission shall be ineligible for further employment either under the Government of India or under the Government of a State

Conclusion:

  • The judiciary needs a mechanism to regulate post-retirement government appointments
  • The viable option is to expeditiously establish a commission, through a properly enacted statute, made up of a majority, if not exclusively, of retired judges to make appointments of competent retired judges to tribunals and judicial bodies.

Connecting the dots:

  • ‘Should judges opt for post-retirement jobs or should they not’? Give arguments in favour of your opinion.
  • “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.” Elucidate.

WELFARE/ECONOMY

TOPIC: General studies 2 and 3

  • 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 
  • Social Empowerment and Development issues
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

SDG India Index Baseline Report by NITI Aayog

Context:

  • India was one among the 193 United Nations member states to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. It has been making sincere efforts to achieve these goals.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are ambitious global aspirations on development that address key aspects of universal wellbeing, across different socio-economic, cultural, geographical divisions as well as the interconnectedness among the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development.

NITI Aayog has the twin mandate:

  1. To oversee the implementation of SDGs in the country
  2. Promote Competitive and Cooperative Federalism among States and Union Territories (UTs)

In exercise of these roles, NITI has developed the SDG India Index, a comprehensive Index to measure progress of States / UTs, through a single measurable Index and the First Baseline Report for 2018, prepared with the support of Global Green Growth Institute and UN in India.

SDG India Index is a useful comparative account of how well different States and Union Territories have performed so far in their efforts to achieve these goals.

Do you know?

  • The index comprises a composite score for each State and Union Territory based on their aggregate performance across 14 of the 17 SDGs.
  • In other words, it has not been possible to establish suitable indicators for three of the 17 goals, including climate action (SDG-13).
  • This is on account of either lack of identification of appropriate indicators or of the inability to compare different States.

Four categories

Based on a scale of 0 to 100, the States are categorised into four groups:

  1. Achievers: those States which have already accomplished the set target.
  2. Front runners: those States that are very close to realising them. (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Himachal Pradesh; Chandigarh among UTs)
  3. Performers: A majority of the States are categorised as performers.
  4. Aspirants

The average Indian score was 57. Almost 17 States qualify as above or equal to the national score.

Concerns:

  • Many States fall into the aspirant category, especially for SDG-5 (gender equality), SDG-9 (industry innovation and infrastructure) and SDG-11 (sustainable cities and communities).
  • There seems to be a negatively skewed distribution of scores among the states. It hints at a purposive designation of a few States in two extremes (achievers and aspirants) and a major share of them in between (front runners and performers).
  • Arbitrariness classification – The methodology used leads to the assessment falling short of reflecting the true picture. There are variations across different goals and merely averaging them compromises on robustness and the uniqueness of each state.

The way ahead:

  • Setting simple averages as targets for all states for each of the goals overlooks the aspect of inter-dependence of various goals.
  • To ensure minimum robustness of this measure, a geometric average would ensure that achievement of progress in one goal cannot compensate for compromise in another.
  • The choice of indicators representing specific goals need not necessarily be guided by availability but also their explicit independence from one another.
  • Setting a uniform set of indicators for each of the goals with proper representation without duplication.

Connecting the dots:

  • Examine the role of NITI Aayog in overseeing the implementation of SDGs in the country.
  • Discuss the mandate and significance of NITI Aayog in India.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note:

  • 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) Consider the following statements:

  1. The number of female children placed for in-country adoptions and inter-country adoptions between 2015 and 2018 are relatively lower than male children.
  2. Female child happens to be the first choice when it comes to adoption in India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None

Q.2) PCSK-9 gene mutation which was in news recently is related to?

  1. Rice Intensification
  2. Gene Editing
  3. Space Research
  4. Fighting bad cholesterol

Q.3) Consider the following statements:

  1. Chief Information Commissioner is eligible for reappointment.
  2. The chairman National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) can be reappointed for further employment under the Central or a state government.
  3. Central Vigilance Commissioner is not eligible for further employment under the Central or a state government.

Which of the statements given above is/are incorrect?

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

Q.4) Consider the following statements:

  1. CAG is not eligible for further office, either under the Government of India or of any state, after he ceases to hold his office.
  2. The Constitution does not specifically bar judges from taking up any post-retirement assignment.
  3. The chairman of the Finance Commission is not eligible for reappointment.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Q.5) SDG India Index Baseline Report is released by –

  1. SAARC
  2. NITI Aayog
  3. United Nations ESCAP
  4. World Bank

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