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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 19th April 2019

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  • April 19, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 19th April 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Govt. suspends cross-LoC trade in J&K

Part of: GS Mains II and III – Centre-State Relations; Security issues; Economy and issues related to it.

In news:

  • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade in Jammu and Kashmir, citing “funnelling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency” as reasons.
  • The decision is set to impact around 300 traders, and more than 1,200 people who are directly and indirectly associated with the trade on this side.
  • A probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the MHA revealed that trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organisations.
  • And especially after India withdrew the Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan aftermath Pulwama attack and imposed higher duty, the LoC trade was likely to be misused to a much larger extent.

CSIR plans genome sequencing to map population diversity

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology

In news:

  • In an indigenous genetic mapping effort, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • The project aims at educating a generation of students on the “usefulness” of genomics.
  • Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease. This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians will be recruited for a detailed study.

Important Value Additions:

What is Genome Sequencing?

  • Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism’s DNA. The human genome is made up of over 3 billion of these genetic letters.

Pic: https://thesequencingcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/seqprocess_blog.jpg

Applications of genome sequencing:

  • Forensics: Used in criminal identification since every individual has different genome sequence.
  • It helps to understand and comprehend the internal structure of genes in the DNA.
  • It helps to understand which sequence codes for what kind of proteins.
  • Medicine: The knowledge of sequence can tell you if you have any disease acquired or hereditary.
  • The knowledge of sequence can be used to prepare proteins.
  • The knowledge of sequencing will help to cure many diseases. [which are currently not being solved]
  • Agriculture: Mapping of genome of micro-organism have enabled researches to make it useful for food crops and plants.

Do you know?

  • Genome sequencing project is considered to be a boon for mankind. Human Genome Project, a first of its kind was taken up by multi- institutes and took 13 years from 1990 to 2003 to produce a blueprint of the sequence of genes and spaces between genes that make up typical human genome.
  • The human genome sequence of an Indian was mapped during 2009, putting the country in the league of then five others — United States, Britain, Canada, China and South Korea — who had demonstrated similar capabilities. This means the 3.1 billion base pairs describing every function of the body of an Indian are now available for further study and as an important diagnostic tool for predictive healthcare.
  • Devoting over two years on the background work, a team of young scientists from the Indian Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in New Delhi mapped the genome sequence of a man in his fifties from Jharkhand.
  • The world’s first human genome sequence was completed in 2003 by the International Human Genome Project with scientists from the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan and China. Resource constraints hindered India’s participation in that project.

Human Genome Project (HGP)

  • The Human Genome Project (HGP) was a large, international and multi-institutional effort that took 13 years [1990-2003] and $2.7 billion to produce a blueprint of the sequence of genes and spaces between genes that make up a typical human genome.

Human Genome Project – Write (HGP – Write)

  • Fast forward to 2016 and another project, called the Human Genome Project–write (HGPwrite), now underway to synthesise a human genome from scratch.
  • The original HGP was a “read” in that it used chemicals and instruments to decipher the genome for the first time. The new project, its proponents say, is to write or build an artificial human genome with sophisticated bioengineering tools.
  • A group of scientists from United States recently proposed an ambitious project named as Human Genome Project-Write (HGP-Write) to create a genetic blueprint or synthetic human genome.
  • The project envisions on the same scale as the Human Genome Project-Read (HGP-Read) which had sequenced human genome in 2003.
  • HGP-Write seeks to reduce the cost of engineering DNA segments synthetically in the laboratory.
  • The potential benefits of HGP-write to India include providing new solutions to diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya.
  • The tools, techniques and technologies that are going to be developed through HGP-write will be universally applicable to all organisms, especially at an earlier stage for organisms with smaller genomes (for example, viruses), towards building individual genes and genomes efficiently and in an inexpensive manner.
  • It also aims at improving the ability to chemically manufacture DNA, with one of the goals being to synthetically create an entire human genome.

Plea in SC on voting rights of undertrials and convicts

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Polity; Fundamental Rights; Election and Voting Rights

In news:

  • Supreme Court is hearing a plea filed by a law student questioning an electoral law which denies undertrials and convicts their right to vote.
  • The petition highlights how the Section sees both an undertrial and a convicted person equally. The former’s guilt is yet to be proved in a court. A person is innocent until proven guilty by law.
  • Despite this, it denies an undertrial the right to vote but allows a detainee the same. However, a person out on bail is allowed to cast his vote.
  • The plea argued that the provision violates the rights to equality, vote (Article 326) and is arbitrary. It is not a reasonable restriction.

Do you know?

  • Section 62(5) of the Representation of People Act of 1951 mandates that “no person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police”.
  • The provisions however exempt a person held under preventive detention from this rigour.
  • Article 326 of Indian Constitution: Elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assemblies of States to be on the basis of adult suffrage

Indians in Libya told to be careful

Part of:  GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian Diaspora; International Affairs

In news:

  • In view of the worsening security situation in Libya, India asked its nationals to exercise extreme caution and stay in contact with others in the community.
  • The Libyan Crisis (2011 to present) refers to the ongoing conflicts in Libya, beginning with the Arab Spring protests of 2011, which led to a civil war, foreign military intervention, and the ousting and death of Muammar Gaddafi.
  • The civil war’s aftermath and proliferation of armed groups led to violence and instability across the country, which erupted into renewed civil war in 2014.
  • The ongoing crisis in Libya has so far resulted in tens of thousands of casualties since the onset of violence in early 2011.

Miscellaneous

Person in news: Yusuf Hamied

Why in news?

  • Scientist and businessman (Cipla chairman) Yusuf Hamied is among a host of Indian-origin experts honoured in the 2019 list of new fellows of the U.K.’s Royal Society. (top U.K. honour)
  • The Royal Society is an independent scientific academy of the U.K. and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.
  • Among the Indian-origin scientists elected as fellows this year are microbiologist Gurdyal Besra, mathematicians Manjul Bhargava and Akshay Venkatesh and health experts Gagandeep Kang and Anant Parekh.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL/HEALTH

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

A manifesto for health

Context:

  • In India, health systems are in critical condition and there is significant public discontent over the lack of quality and affordable healthcare.

Concerns:

In the past five years,

  • The Union health budget has stagnated in real terms and allocations to the National Health Mission do not cover inflation
  • There have been avoidable deaths of scores of children in public hospitals in Gorakhpur and other places that can be ascribed to the lack of material and human resources.
  • Governments have failed to regulate private hospitals
  • There were numerous instances of mismanagement and massive over-charging of patients

Ayushman Bharat scheme – An attempt to transform India’s Healthcare Map

  • PM Modi had launched the Ayushman Bharat scheme a year before the elections.
  • The scheme claims to benefit 50 crore Indians
  • Coverage of up to ₹5 lakh a family a year will be provided for secondary- and tertiary-care hospitalization (50 crore beneficiaries)
  • 5 lakh centres health and wellness centres will be established.

However, the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojna (component of the Ayushman Bharat scheme) is seriously underfunded (current funds being less than one-fourth of required) and will only scratch the tip of the iceberg of healthcare requirements in India.

Given this context, India needs a major health policy reboot.

 

Suggestions by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan

Do you know?

  • The Jan Swasthya Abhiyan is a ‘People’s Health Movement’ in the country, which is aimed at establishing health and equitable development through comprehensive primary health care and action on the social determinants of health.
  • It is a worldwide network of peoples’ organizations, NGOs, social activists, civil society organizations, health professionals, researchers, etc.

As per People’s Health Manifesto 2019 by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan –

  • There is a need to adopt “Right to Healthcare” legislation at the Centre and state levels. This would ensure that all residents of the country are entitled to healthcare facilities.
  • There is a need to develop a system for Universal Healthcare (UHC) and which would require expansion and strengthening of public health services at all levels.
  • Private providers should also be involved, as per need, to supplement the public health system.
  • There is a need to increase the public health expenditure exponentially through taxation. (as current GDP expenditure on health is just mere 1.2 per cent and it is vital to reach 3.5 per cent of the GDP in the next five years).
  • In order to increase staff and infrastructure, strengthen public health services, major reforms are needed.
  • Guaranteed provision of free essential medicines and diagnostics to all patients.
  • There should be a comprehensive health sector human resource policy, which provides upgraded skill training, fair wages, social security and decent working conditions for all public health services staff.
  • The services of all contractual health workers, including ASHAs and anganwadi workers, should be regularised.
  • Community-based monitoring and planning of health services should be upscaled and user-friendly grievance redressal systems put in place to ensure social accountability and participation.
  • Private hospitals must be brought under the ambit of regulations by modifying and adopting the Clinical Establishments Act in all states.
  • There is a need for effective legislation which ensures the Charter of Patient’s Rights, which provides grievance redressal mechanism to patients, the rates for services must be regulated and standard treatment guidelines should be adopted in healthcare institutions.
  • These initiatives must be accompanied by measures to ensure that people with special needs — women, children, differently-abled persons, people living with HIV — enjoy appropriate health services.
  • Traditional social determinants of health such as nutrition, water supply, sanitation and healthy environment must be ensured.
  • There should be plans in place to tackle new determinants like air and water pollution and addictions.

Conclusion:

Such a paradigm shift towards a rights-based system for universal healthcare, based on massive increase in health budgets and strengthened health systems, is not an unrealistic dream.

Connecting the dots:

  • Ayushman Bharat is one of the most ambitious health schemes ever launched in India. What can be the key challenges in proper implementation of this scheme?
  • What do you understand by universal health coverage? Explain the measures taken by the government to achieve universal health coverage in India.
  • Enacting a Right to Health Act and setting up of an independent regulatory authority to manage and monitor the delivery of health care services are the two most important steps in the direction of universal health coverage. Comment.

GOVERNMENT POLICY/SCHEMES

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
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why Ujjwala LPG scheme is a half-baked programme?

Context:

  • We know that, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households.
  • Under the scheme, five crore (now 8 crores) LPG connections are to be provided to BPL households.
  • PMUY aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel.

Recently, the Union government claimed that it has provided over 51 million—51,407,565 at last official count—free cooking gas connections, distributed in standard-sized cylinders familiar to most people in India.

However, most households in rural Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh—despite having an LPG connection—have not switched over to exclusive use of gas.

What RICE survey says?

According to Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (RICE), a non-profit research organization, which surveyed 1,550 households in late 2018 to know their cooking fuel choices –

  • Burning solid fuel for cooking causes high levels of indoor air pollution and this smoke is dangerous. Solid-fuel use not only affects the health of the family that uses it, but is also harmful to their neighbours.
  • Between 2014 and 2018, the region saw 44.2 percentage point increase in households with a cooking gas connection.
  • In fact, over three-fourths of all households in Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh now have LPG connections, and 43% of them reported having received one from the government.
  • But almost all households still own a chulha.
  • As many as 37% of the households reported having used both a chulha and LPG stove the day before they were asked as part of the survey exercise.
  • And about 36% were found to be only using solid fuel for cooking.

Reasons:

  • Poverty and high cost of LPG – Since they are poor, and the cost of a gas cylinder or re-filling it forms a large portion of their monthly expenditure, Ujjwala beneficiaries are less likely to exclusively use LPG for cooking.
  • Beliefs and attitudes of people – Over two-thirds of the respondents considered cooking with LPG easier and healthier for the person who cooked. However, over 85% of the survey’s respondents also saw solid fuel as a better option for taste and the health of family members eating the food. Therefore, a household’s fuel use is associated with its beliefs.

Conclusion:

  • But the effect of air pollution on people’s health is a scientific fact. By delivering so many LPG connections, the government has finished its job. However, the real goal has not, and it may take a long while before it does.
  • If the Ujjwala scheme is to accomplish its goal, which is the improvement of cooking conditions for women and enhancement of Indian citizens’ health, the government needs to work on changing the people’s attitudes and beliefs. This could be a long-drawn process.

Connecting the dots:

  • Does there exist a direct relation of smokeless kitchens with economic development. Discuss.
  • Why having an LPG connection important for woman empowerment? In this regard, do you think Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana can make a difference? Examine. Also discuss its other advantages.
  • If the Ujjwala scheme is to accomplish its real goal, then the government needs to work on changing the people’s attitudes and beliefs. Elucidate.

(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) Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause under WTO regime is based on the principle of

  1. Non discrimination between the member nations
  2. Differential treatment between the locals and foreigners
  3. Uniform tariffs across commodities
  4. Top status in its strategic dealings

Q.2) A massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all eukaryotic species on the planet. The project is

  1. Human Genome Project
  2. Human Genome Project-write
  3. Earth BioGenome project
  4. Eukaryotic-Genome Project

Q.3) Consider the following statements with regard to Human Genome Project (HGP):

  1. Goal of the project was complete mapping and understanding of all the genes of human beings.
  2. The potential benefits of HGP include providing new solutions to diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya.
  3. A group of scientists from India recently proposed an ambitious project named as Human Genome Project-Write (HGP-Write) to create a genetic blueprint or synthetic human genome.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.4) Consider the below statement with regard to human genome sequencing:

  1. India is among the league of countries who have demonstrated the capability of mapping all the genes of a human.
  2. The world’s first human genome sequence was completed in 2003 by the International Human Genome Project, in which Indian scientists had also participated.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.5) Consider the following regarding Universal Adult Franchise

  1. The elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State follows adult suffrage
  2. Our Constitution which provides for Universal adult suffrage was drafted by a Constituent Assembly that was composed of members elected by restricted franchise
  3. The Motilal Nehru report of 1928 advocated unlimited adult franchise and equal rights for women

Which of the given statements is/are correct?

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

Q.6) Article 326 of the Indian Constitution is associated with

  1. Bar to interference by courts in certain disputes
  2. Universal Adult Suffrage
  3. Discretionary power of President
  4. Original jurisdiction of Supreme Court

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