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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th February 2019

  • IASbaba
  • February 28, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th February 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


India to push for UN ban on JeM chief

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International; Security issues

In news:

  • After France, India to push for UN ban on JeM chief.
  • UN Security Council and the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force both issued strong press statements on the Pulwama attack and calling on Pakistan to act against the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
  • They have begun negotiations on a new proposal to place JeM chief Masood Azhar on the ban list operated by the UNSC’s 1267 committee, the fourth such request in four consecutive years.

UN body hails Odisha on women reservation

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social issue; Women issue

In news:

  • United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) has complimented the government of Odisha for proposing 33% reservation for women in Parliament and the State Assemblies.
  • UN Women recongnises the fact that real, transformative and irreversible progress can only be achieved if women are equal partners in decision making.

Action plan for free treatment of hepatitis patients launched

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social/Welfare issue; Health issue

In news:

  • Patients infected with hepatitis B and C virus will soon be able to avail free treatment.
  • Model treatment centres in Maharashtra will roll out free treatment for hepatitis C and B.

About the Action Plan

  • According to the action plan, one model hepatitis treatment centre will be established in each State in a government institution in the first year.
  • While the number of model centres will be increased gradually, by the end of the second year, efforts will be made to establish one such centre at district level.
  • Setting up a national reference laboratory and State-level reference laboratories is also under planning.

Do you know?

  • Viral hepatitis is a global public health problem that kills nearly 2.72 lakh people annually.
  • It is an inflammatory condition of the liver caused by five known hepatitis viruses — A, B, C, D and E. Of these, B and C are known to cause 96% mortality.
  • The comprehensive action plan will focus on curbing mother-to-child transmission by improving the coverage of hepatitis B injection given at birth.
  • While hepatitis B requires life-long treatment which costs around ₹2,500 per month, hepatitis C requires a 84-day long course costing nearly ₹40,000.

Important value additions:

  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
  • There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.
  • World Hepatitis Day (28th July) which is celebrated every year, is an opportunity to step up national/international efforts for raising awareness as well as encouraging prevention, diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis at global level so as to achieve its elimination by 2030.

National Programme for Control of Viral Hepatitis

  • From the 2018-19 financial year, for which a budget of Rs 600 crore for the next three years has been approved.
  • With the focus on Hepatitis C, an anti-viral treatment will be provided free at all government health set-ups.
  • Sofosbuvir is recommended under the new WHO treatment guidelines for Hepatitis C.

India-Sri Lanka: India-built houses handed over to Sri Lanka estate workers

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International relations; India and its neighbours; Bilateral ties

In news:

  • As many as 155 houses, built as part of India’s ongoing housing project in Sri Lanka, were handed over to estate workers in Hatton, located in the Central Province.
  • The effort is part of India’s pledge to help construct 63,000 houses in Sri Lanka — including 46,000 homes built in the war-hit north and east — with a grant of $350 million, the largest Indian grant assistance project in any country abroad.
  • The newly-constructed houses will enable families of estate workers to move out of the cramped, colonial-era line rooms, into individual units.
  • Out of the total commitment of 63,000 houses, 47,000 houses had already been built.

Miscellaneous:

GST on under-construction houses cut

In news:

  • Goods and Services Tax Council decided to reduce tax rates on the sale of under-construction residential properties.
  • The Council decided that the rate for normal residential properties would be 5% without the option of availing input tax credits.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Judiciary and Fundamental Rights
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Why Section 66A is frequently violated?

Context:

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, as unconstitutional. (Shreya Singhal v. Union of India)
  • But none of this stopped the police from arresting and detaining people for allegedly committing a crime under Section 66A
  • Critics argue that there is no point of that landmark decision if the police still jail persons under unconstitutional laws?

Do you know?

  • Just mere declarations of unconstitutionality do not wipe out a provision from the statute book. Therefore steps need to be taken to ensure people know the provision is no longer valid.
  • In addition, there are no systems in place to ensure that the news of judicial decisions reached all corners of the state machinery. The news of a penal provision being struck down by the SC has not reached many police stations.
  • There are many media reports on the continued application of Section 66A and how oft-maligned police are abusing their power. From police stations, to trial courts, and all the way up to the High Courts, Section 66A is still prevailing throughout the legal system.

Reasons: Why there are instances of continued application of unconstitutional penal laws (such as Section 66A)?

  1. Signal failures between different branches of government: Primary reason for poor enforcement of judicial declarations of unconstitutionality is signal failures between different branches of government.
  2. Lack of effective monitoring mechanism: Supreme Court performs monitoring function while a litigation is pending but it cannot do so after finally deciding a case, even after directions for compliance are issued. Instead, it needs help from the legislature and executive to ensure its final decisions are enforced.
  3. Active non-compliance to the Court’s verdict: As can be witnessed in Section 66A case, verdict on Fire-crackers etc, Speedy disposal of pending cases against legislators and lawmakers (former and sitting), etc.
  4. Lack of formal system on information sharing: There is no formal system on information sharing in the hierarchical set-up of the Indian judiciary.

The way ahead:

  1. Effective information sharing mechanism: For any bureaucratic structure to survive, it needs working communication channels for sharing information.
  2. Effective Top Down approach: The probability of decisions taken at the highest echelons of a system being faithfully applied at the lowest rungs greatly depends on how efficiently word gets to the ground.
  3. Remove the provision declared unconstitutional: Unless Parliament amends a statute to remove the provision declared unconstitutional, that provision continues to remain on the statute book.
  4. Notifications and circulars: Notifications and circulars should be issued by relevant Ministries, to share information about judgments declaring a provision unconstitutional.

Conclusion:

  • There is a pressing need to move from a system where communication about judicial decisions is at the mercy of initiatives by scrupulous officers.
  • Enforcing unconstitutional laws is sheer wastage of public money.
  • Until this basic flaw within is addressed, certain persons will remain exposed to denial of their right to life and personal liberty in the worst possible way imaginable.

Connecting the dots:

  • Discuss Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, with reference to its alleged violation of article 19 of the Indian constitution.
  • Critically evaluate the statement “Freedom of speech and expression is not absolute in India”.

HEALTH/SOCIAL ISSUE

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes 
  • 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

De-odourising sewage

Key pointers:

According to the World Bank estimate –

  • More than a fifth of all communicable diseases in India (21%) are caused by contaminated water.
  • One in ten deaths in India is attributed to diseases or infections directly or indirectly transmitted through water.
  • Over 500 children die every day in India due to diarrhoeal diseases.

According to a study by the Indian Nitrogen Group –

  • Amount of reactive nitrogen in a bulk of the water bodies in India is already twice the limit prescribed by WHO.
  • Nitrogen pollution from untreated sewage now outstrips nitrogen pollution from the Indian farmer’s urea addiction.

Issues in existing Sanitation Policy in India:

1.Issues in Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • Under the mission, in the past four years alone, over nine crore toilets have been constructed. Of these, only 60 lakh are in urban areas, where one assumes they are connected to some sort of sewage system.
  • However, a study done by the Centre for Science and Environment in 30 cities in Uttar Pradesh found that only 28% of toilets in these cities were connected to a sewage system. Therefore, the rest will be generating fecal sludge, sewage and septage which has no place to go.
  • Which means that that too will simply get dumped, polluting land, surface and ground water and killing our rivers and ponds.

 2. Poor Sewage Treatment:

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) –

  • 63% of urban sewage flowing into rivers is untreated and gap between sewage generated in urban areas (all Class 1 and Class 2 towns) and capacity for treating that is over 78%.
  • Moreover, up to a third of the installed sewage treatment capacity is fully or partly dysfunctional.
  • Even where the plants are working, many are not working at full capacity, because the infrastructure needed to feed the raw sewage into the treatment plant (a network of drains, sewers and pumping stations) is inadequate or incomplete.

3. Underfunded Sewage Treatment in Smart City Mission:

  • Of the 99 cities in the ‘Smart Cities’ mission, which are collectively spending ₹2 lakh crore over five years (from 2015), only 2.4% of the money is going to be spent on waste management.

4. Issues with AMRUT Mission:

  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) also fund such schemes. AMRUT covers a much larger spread which cover 500 ‘mission cities’ across the country.
  • Of these, only 217 pitched for a sewage treatment plant as an AMRUT project. Of these, in the last four years, only four have been completed, according to a reply filed in the Lok Sabha.
  • Of the 212 schemes, as many as 189 are accounted for by just Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Only six other States have one or more projects under way. The rest have no plans.

Conclusion:

  • Water is increasingly becoming the biggest challenge faced by most Indian cities today.
  • According to NITI Aayog’s composite water management index report released last year, 75% of households do not have access to drinking water on premises, 70% households lack piped water (potable or otherwise) and as many as 20 cities will effectively use up all available water resources by 2020.
  • Sewage and waste need to come centrestage in our policy debates.
  • Sewage treatment should be an electoral issue to properly deal the real risk of eventually either choking or being poisoned by our own waste.

Connecting the dots:

  • India need a Solid waste management plans to be implemented alongside maintenance of drainage and sewerage networks. Discuss
  • Decentralised sludge management and sewage systems are vital to achieve clean water goals of SDG by 2030. Elucidate.
  • Open defecation has long been a major health and sanitation problem in India. Critically analyze the policy measure taken by government to eliminate the problem of open defecation.

(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 about Hepatitis

  1. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.
  2. Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water.
  3. World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on 28th July

Which of the given statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Viral Load Testing is available for which of the following?

  1. HIV
  2. Hepatitis B
  3. Cytomegalovirus

Select the correct code:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 Only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3) Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by Hepatitis C virus. Which of the following statements regarding Hepatitis C are correct?

  1. It is caused by drinking contaminated water or through saliva of infected person.
  2. Once infected, a person cannot be cured.
  3. It can spread through sexual intercourse.

Select the code from below:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 3 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1 and 3

Q.4) ‘Women in Politics Map’ is released by –

  1. International Council of Women (ICW)
  2. Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO)
  3. Council of Women World Leaders
  4. None of the above

Q.5) Global Gender Gap Report is released by –

  1. World Economic Forum
  2. UN Women
  3. Women for Women International
  4. OXFAM International

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