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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2019

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  • April 8, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna (PMUY)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Government schemes and policies; Infrastructure: Energy

About the scheme:

  • 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. The identification of eligible BPL families will be made in consultation with the State Governments and the Union Territories.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.
  • The ambitious scheme also laid down a condition — that the LPG connections will be issued in the name of the women of the households.

Do you know?

  • The Ujjwala Yojna was launched in 2016.
  • The scheme subsidises LPG connections for rural households by providing a free gas cylinder, regulator and pipe.
  • Central government data shows that more than six crore households have received a connection through the scheme.

In news:

According to a new study from the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics (r.i.c.e) –

  • There has indeed been a substantial increase in LPG ownership due to the scheme, with 76% of households now owning an LPG connection.
  • However, most rural households with LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections still use chulhas with firewood or dung cakes.
  • About 85% of Ujjwala beneficiaries in 4 States still use earthen stoves, due to financial reasons as well as gender inequalities.

The survey found that while 70% of respondents thought the gas stove was better for the health of the cook (typically a woman), more than 86% felt that cooking on the chulha was better for the health of those eating, reflecting ignorance of the fact that ambient air pollution is harmful even to those who are not cooking the food.

Study recommends that the scheme should move beyond benefits for women alone to change household behaviour.


New clinical trials rules will help patients

Part of: GS Mains II – Government policies and schemes; Health issues

In news:

  • The government eased the rules for clinical trials of drugs in the country.
  • The Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019 do away with the necessity to conduct local trials for drugs that have been approved to be marketed in the US, the UK, the EU, Canada, Australia and Japan.
  • This will mean these drugs can reach patients faster than before.
  • Data generated in these countries will be deemed acceptable.
  • Firms introducing a drug in India that is approved in any of the six jurisdictions will only need to carry out the Phase IV clinical trial, which is a post-marketing trial that involves study of long-term effects of the drug.

India might soon have the most Caesarean births

Part of: GS Mains II – Government policies and schemes; Health issues

In news:

  • A new study based on the data from the National Family and Health Survey has shown that there is a significant increase in the rate of caesarean births in India.
  • While the WHO recommends the rate of caesarean delivery to be 10-15%, the number was 17.2% for India during 2015-16.

Is C-section birth bad?

  • A 2018 report in The Lancet pointed out that the prevalence of maternal mortality and morbidity is higher after caesarean than after vaginal birth.
  • Also, it is noted to be associated with an “increased risk of uterine rupture, abnormal placentation, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and preterm birth.”

There is an urgent need to monitor the deliveries in clinics and hospitals. The government should inform practitioners and women of the unnecessary risks of non-medically justified C-sections.


Miscellaneous

1. AI robots may assist soldiers in the future

In news:

  • Scientists in the U.S. are developing artificial intelligence (AI) systems that could help robots assist soldiers in the battlefield in future.

2. Literary works in news:

  • Abul Fazl : : Ain-e Akbari
  • Jahangir : : Tuzk-e-Jahangiri

Ain-i-Akbari or the “Administration of Akbar”, is a 16th-century detailed document recording the administration of the Mughal Empire under Emperor Akbar, written by his court historian, Abu’l Fazl.

Do you know?

  • Abu’l Fazal, author of the Akbarnama, was one of the Nine Jewels of Akbar’s royal court and the brother of Faizi, the poet laureate of emperor Akbar.

Tuzuk-e-Jahangiri or Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri is the autobiography of Mughal Emperor Nur-ud-din Muhammad Jahangir. It is also referred to as Jahangirnama.


(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT/ECOLOGY

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Need for a waste management policy

Context:

Following are the key points from the editorial which are important for Mains answer-writing:

Concept of “Hyper-consumption”

  • 21st century is witnessing hyper-consumption (with developing countries catching up rapidly)
  • Humans are generating monumental amounts of waste (Example – disposable plastic bags and micro-plastics; cheaply made goods which are deliberately built to become outdated, and cheaply made manufactured goods – have lead to a “throw away” mentality.)
  • Unprecedented consumer appetite is undermining the natural systems, it has devastating toll on the Earth’s water supplies, natural resources, and ecosystems.

One can add Globalization perspective to this hyper-consumption concept:

  • Globalization is a driving factor in making goods and services previously out of reach in developing countries much more available.
  • Items that at one point in time were considered luxuries—televisions, cell phones, computers, air conditioning—are now viewed as necessities.

(Therefore, we can say Globalization lead to hyper-consumption and affect resources.)

Poor waste management and other concerns:

  • In India, less than 60% of waste is collected from households and only 15% of urban waste is processed.
  • Billions of tonnes of garbage, including microplastics, never make it to landfills or incinerators and end up in the oceans.
  • This garbage chokes marine life and disturbs zooplankton, which are vital to the elimination of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Landfills are seedbeds of methane and other greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming. These toxic chemicals poison the soil and their leached run-off makes its way into the oceans.
  • Even though waste incinerators generate energy, they also cause health issues such as cancer.
  • In India, nearly 60% of the household waste is wet organic waste, with low calorific value. This makes options such as waste-to-energy incinerators inefficient.
  • Segregation of waste into organic, recyclable and hazardous categories is not enforced at source.
  • Issue of logistical contractors – They dump more garbage in landfills as their compensation is proportional to the tonnage of waste. They are also prone to illegally dump waste at unauthorised sites to reduce transportation costs.
  • Organic farming and composting are not economically attractive to the Indian farmer, as chemical pesticides are heavily subsidised, and the compost is not efficiently marketed.

The way ahead:

  • Need to design incinerators that are suited to Indian conditions.
  • Need to design efficient process of material recycling and composting. (For instance, efficient composting can be possible through an optimal combination of microbes and temperature to produce a nutrient-dense soil conditioner.)
  • Need for mandatory segregation of waste into organic, recyclable and hazardous categories.
  • Waste management should not be offered free of cost to residents. Only if residents pay will they realise the importance of segregation and recycling.

Therefore, India needs a comprehensive waste management policy that stresses the need for decentralised garbage disposal practices. This will also incentivise private players to participate.

Connecting the dots:

  • If plastic waste has to be done away with, the initiation has to come from consumers. Elucidate.
  • How are lacunas in Solid waste management responsible for underground water pollution? What are ill effects of underground water pollution?
  • Waste generation is a severe fallout of urbanization in India. What solutions would you recommend for effective waste management? Discuss.

NATIONAL

TOPIC: General studies 2 and 3

  • Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • Indian Economy and issue
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Why Indians are so unhappy?

Introduction:

According to the latest World Happiness Report (produced by prominent economists and sponsored by the United Nations) –

  • India’s ranking, already low, slid further and stands at 140 out of 156 countries.
  • Pakistan ranks much higher, at 67th.
  • Finland tops the rankings, while South Sudan is at the bottom.

Do you know?

  • The main measure of “happiness” is based on responses to surveys of how individuals subjectively evaluate their life circumstances on a 0-10 scale.
  • Various factors that determine the happiness levels of a country include life expectancy, social support, income, freedom, trust, health and generosity, amongst others.
  • India’s score is 4.015.
  • India’s score has decreased by over one point since 2005-06, with most of this decline coming since 2011.

Why India is so unhappy?

India’s performance lower than its neighbours:

  • Even though India’s data on GDP per capita and healthy life expectancy is better than Pakistan, India’s rank in World Happiness Report is way to lower compared to Pakistan.
  • Not just Pakistan, all of India’s immediate neighbours are more joyful than Indians, despite many of them not being nearly as well-off economically or even socially.

Reasons:

  • A reasonable explanation for the puzzle is that India’s people expect better, and they are feeling disappointed.
  • Increasing inequality and feelings of injustice or unfairness are also plausible contributing factors.
  • In a democracy like ours, if people are unhappy about something they have the right to protest against it. So if the number of bandhs, hartals and protests were considered to be an indication of the citizens’ dissatisfaction, ours would be off the charts. Our protests, like our culture, show great diversity. Be it a film, a law, a ban, a proposed policy, loan waiver, inflation, a crime like rape, or a so-called godman or movie stars going to jail. The list is endless.
  • In short, everyone from the class 10th students protesting paper leaks and poor farmers, to the PM is on a protest. Everyone seems to be unhappy about something or the other.
  • Freedom of choice also makes people happier. The intervention of the state into the private matters of people such as their food, drinks, or sexual preferences doesn’t help in enhancing happiness either. (Example, prohibition imposed on consuming beef or alcohol, Sabarimala case, Triple Talaq etc.)

India’s paradoxes

  • Ideally, richer countries should be happier than their poorer counterparts. If it were so then India should definitely have ranked higher than all our neighbours, as it is the fastest growing, and now the world’s sixth largest economy. (India is projected to overtake the UK by 2020 to become the fifth largest economy in the world.)
  • Being the sixth largest economy in terms of GDP doesn’t mean that we have mastered economic growth.
  • India accounted for the largest number of people living below the international poverty line in 2013 according to the World Bank.
  • Unemployment is a serious issue. People are happy when they have secure jobs and a regular flow of income.
  • We need to transform our schools and colleges from the exam factory that they become a place where students can learn to make a living.
  • The workplace also needs to be transformed into a place where people can cooperate and enjoy their work.

Comparisons leading to unhappiness

  • Comparing your success with others will only make you miserable. Happiness comes from within it is said.

Various factors ranging from corruption to banking fraud, the farmer crisis, a slow justice system, gender parity, bad infrastructure, non-existent or expensive healthcare, social disparities, and the endless stream of lies from those who represent us – can also be possible reasons.

Connecting the dots:

  • Critically analyze why Indians are unhappy despite doubled GDP and India being the sixth largest economy.

(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 below statements:

  1. The World Happiness Report is an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
  2. As of March 2019, Finland tops the rankings, while South Sudan is at the bottom.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Who among the following Mughal emperors did not write their own biographies?

  1. Babur
  2. Akbar
  3. Humayun
  4. Jahangir

Select the correct answer

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

Q.3) Consider the following with reference to Literature of Mughal period and identify the correct statement:

  1. Shah Jahan translated Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads into Persian language
  2. Tuzuk-I-Jahangiri was a biography written by Shah Jahan
  3. Akbar Nama and Ain-I-Akbari were written by Abul Faizi
  4. None of the above

Q.4) Consider the following statement:

  1. Tuzuk-i- Jahangiri is an autobiography of Jahangir.
  2. Iqbalnama-i- Jahangir was written by Abdul Qadir Badayoun.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

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