IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd June 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Kaleshwaram project inaugurated in Telangana
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS III Infrastructure
- The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP), claimed to be the world’s largest multi-stage and multi-purpose lift irrigation scheme, was inaugurated on June 21, 2019.
- It is meant to irrigate over 37 lakh acres of new and existing ayacuts and supply drinking water to Hyderabad and villages en route.
Do you Know?
- Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is a multi-purpose irrigation project on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Telangana, India.
- This project starts at the confluence point of Pranahita River and Godavari River i.e, at Kaleshwaram village in Telangana.
- Pranahita river in itself is a confluence of various other smaller tributaries like Wardha, Penganga and Wainganga Rivers.
Over 12,000 suicide deaths by farmers in three years: Maharashtra
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS III Farmers’ issues
- In Maharashtra, despite spending over ₹19,000 crore on farm loan waiver, a total of 12,021 farmers have died in the State due to suicide between 2015 and 2018.
- First three months of this year (2019) saw 610 deaths of farmers.
Steps taken by Maharashtra government
- Over 50 lakh farmers would benefit from the loan waiver scheme and ₹24,000 crore will be spent for this.
- Of the total number, 43.32 lakh farmers have actually received benefits worth ₹19,000 crore.
- Out of 12,021 farmer suicides, a total of 6,888 cases qualified for compensation as per the norms.
- Out of these, kin of farmers in 6,845 cases have been paid ₹1 lakh aid.
Despite the loan waiver scheme and increasing expenditure on the agriculture sector, the farmer deaths in the state have not stopped.
FATF warns Pak., but keeps it off the blacklist
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS II International Relations
- Pakistan has avoided being placed on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklist during the multilateral financial watchdog’s plenary meetings in Orlando, Florida held from June 16 to 21.
- The FATF expresses concern that not only did Pakistan fail to complete its action plan items with January deadlines, it also failed to complete its action plan items due May 2019.
- The FATF strongly urges Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan by October 2019 when the last set of action plans are set to expire. Otherwise, the FATF will decide the next step at that time for insufficient progress.
- The mention of transnational terrorist financing is significant in light of India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan on the international stage in the context of its support for terror in Kashmir.
In June 2018, Pakistan was placed on a FATF greylist of countries whose laws do not adequately deal with money laundering and terrorist financing and agreed to a 10-point action plan to strengthen its anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism and proliferation regime.
Blacklist, greylist criteria
- To stay off of the FATF blacklist, the support of at least three of a total of 36 (excluding two regional organisations) FATF members is required.
- Fifteen members need to support a country’s move off of the greylist, as per the FATF charter.
- Currently Iran and North Korea are in the Blacklist.
India placed on ‘Tier 2’ in Human trafficking report
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS II International reports, Policies affecting weaker sections of the society
The U.S. State Department has released its 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, highlighting the need for action against domestic trafficking.
The national nature of trafficking (Based on ILO data):
- In 77% of the cases, victims are trafficked within their own countries of residence, rather than across borders.
- Victims of sex trafficking were more likely to be trafficked across borders while victims of forced labour were typically exploited within their own countries.
The report categorises countries into three groups based on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), U.S. legislation, based on efforts to meet minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking viz. Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3.
India continued to be placed in Tier 2 on the country trafficking scale.
Recommendations for India
- Amend the definition of trafficking in Section 370 of the Penal Code to include forced labour trafficking and ensure that force, fraud, or coercion are not required to prove a child sex trafficking offence.
- Establish Anti-Human Trafficking Units in all districts with funding and clear mandates.
- NITI Aayog had recommended special assistance of ₹19,205 crore to Mission Bhagiratha, intended to supply piped drinking water to every household, and ₹5,000 crore to Mission Kakatiya, meant to restore over 45,000 tanks in the State.
- Mission Bhagiratha: It is a project for safe drinking water for every village and city household in Telangana State.
- Mission Kakatiya: It is a programme for restoring all the minor irrigation tanks and lakes in Telangana State.
TOPIC: General studies 2:
- 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, Education, Human Resources
- India and its neighbourhood- relations
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Developing a shared vision for SDGs in South Asia
South Asia covers only about 3.5% of the world’s land surface area but hosts a fourth of its population, making it a region of significant importance for international development.
In spite of the geographic proximity countries in this region enjoy and their common socio-cultural bonds, this is one of the world’s least integrated regions. Intra-regional trade is a meagre 5% of the total trade these countries do globally, while intra-regional investment is less than 1% of the region’s overall global investment.
South Asia’s average GDP per capita is only about 9.64% of the global average. Accounting for more than 30% of the world’s poor, the region faces myriad economic and environmental challenges.
Lack of initiatives:
While the countries share a host of common development challenges, economic cooperation remains less than adequate.
While, A few noteworthy regional initiatives such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC ) and the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Initiative have been undertaken to bring the countries closer together, economically and socially, there is scope for much more.
For a region with common development challenges of inequality, poverty, weak governance and poor infrastructure, a shared vision of attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides enormous opportunities for cooperation, collaboration, and convergence (3C).
Need of shared vision:
- The 17 goals and their 169 targets under SDGs are inter-connected and cannot be implemented by countries working in isolation. Many are transnational in nature and require regional efforts.
South Asian countries could benefit a lot by adopting a regional framework of cooperation that can support, strengthen and stimulate the SDGs.
In the SDG Index 2018, which is an assessment of countries’ progress, among 156 countries only two South Asian countries, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, are in the top 100. India is ranked 112th.
- Varying performances & Similarities:
A closer look at the country-level data shows that India is performing well in Goal 1 (no poverty), Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation), Goal 12 (sustainable consumption and production), Goal 13 (climate action) and Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) while doing poorly in goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 5 (gender equality) and Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure).
There are a lot of similarities among these three big economies(India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) of South Asia with respect to achieving some specific SDGs as well as exhibiting poor performance in some common goals.
- Most South Asian countries have made good progress in ending extreme poverty, but they face persistent challenges to goals related to industry, innovation and infrastructure, zero hunger, gender equality, education, sustainable cities and communities and decent work and economic growth.
- These apart, most of South Asia continues to be vulnerable to climate change and climate-induced natural disasters.
A regional strategic approach to tackle common development challenges can bring enormous benefits to South Asia.
- SDGs related to energy, biodiversity, infrastructure, climate resilience and capacity development are transnational, and here policy harmonisation can play a pivotal role in reducing duplication and increasing efficiency.
- Bangladesh has undertaken exemplary initiatives for analysing its available resources and additional funding requirements for SDG implementation, suggesting that the country requires an additional $928 billion to fully implement the SDGs. The study identifies five possible sources for SDGs financing: public sector, private sector, public-private partnership, external sector and non-government organisations.
- Similarly, India has formulated some pragmatic plans and initiatives to improve food and nutrition security from which many of the neighbouring countries can benefit.
To address institutional and infrastructural deficits, South Asian countries need deeper regional cooperation. On financing the SDGs in South Asia, countries can work towards increasing the flow of intra-regional FDI. The private sector too can play a vital role in resource mobilisation.
If the countries of South Asia, the fastest growing region of the world, can come to a common understanding on regional integration and cooperation in achieving the SDGs, it can unleash a powerful synergistic force that can finally make South Asia converge.
A convergence towards achieving a common socio-economic agenda gives hope that no one in South Asia will be left behind in the journey towards eradicating poverty and enduring dignity to all.
Connecting the dots:
- For the South Asia region, which has common development challenges of inequality, poverty, weak governance and poor infrastructure, a shared vision of attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides enormous opportunities for cooperation, collaboration, and convergence (3C). Comment.
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
- Issues and policies related to health
The debate on Bihar tragedy: Reasons behind
While Bihar loses hundreds of children to AES(Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) every year, there were sharp spikes in 2012 and 2014, when 395 and 372 children, respectively, lost their lives. Through the years, AES cases have been reported from several districts in Bihar: Gaya, Patna, Aurangabad, Saran, East Champaran, Sitamarhi and Vaishali.
Encephalitis refers to an inflammation in the brain due to a viral or bacterial attack. It causes fever and almost never a drop in blood sugar. In the current epidemic, as well as in previous ones in Muzaffarpur, the doctors have marked cases of and deaths by hypoglycaemia (drop in blood sugar), which is unusual.
Possible reasons behind:
Ongoing heat wave:
It could be the ongoing heatwave — several parts of Patna, Gaya and even Muzaffarpur have recorded temperatures in excess of 4-5°C over what’s normal for this time of the year. At least 80 people have succumbed to the heatwave. The added heat and humidity could have made young children particularly susceptible to dehydration.
Debating the litchi link:
Spike in AES cases and in fatalities can be a result of malnourished children suffering brain damage after eating litchis, particularly unripe or overripe ones.
In 2016, a detailed investigation, published in The Lancet Global Health by the National Centre for Disease Control, India, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found “confirmation” that litchis contained a chemical called methylene cyclopropyl glycine (MCPG). These are naturally occurring toxins that cause hypoglycaemia and metabolic derangement in children.
When a child is malnourished, her body, having exhausted its reserves of glucose from the digestive tract and the liver, typically turns to fatty acids in biochemical desperation to supply blood sugar to the brain. MCPG, the theory goes, blocked this mechanism. This can send the brain into hypoglycaemic shock triggering convulsions and, if unaddressed, even death.
Virus or biological agent:
Several parents of the ailing children have been categorical that their children did not eat litchis. If malnutrition and litchi consumption were the causes, then there ought to have been a fairly constant number of deaths every year. This has not been observed.
“A peak and an ebb in cases and deaths is what we see. And that’s more typical of a biological agent.”
Poor health record:
Irrespective of whether a biological agent or malnutrition is to blame, Bihar’s poor track record in ensuring that the poorest have access to adequate nutrition and distrust in the public health care system are major causes for the deaths.
- Doctors in several primary health care centres are “afraid” of doing anything beyond the bare minimum to rescue a child. “Because the primary health care centres and health centres are located in a village or community, there’s a greater chance of violence in case a child dies. Over the years, this has led to a lack of trust among people in their nearest health facility and they opt for tertiary care.
- Bihar’s position at the bottom of national health indices makes novel diseases harder to detect and known diseases harder to treat.
According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of 2015-2016, 48% of children in Bihar were stunted, compared to the national average of 38%.
Bihar also performed poorly in terms of its ability to spend and implement schemes that provided nutritious food to children and expectant mothers.
Two-thirds of eligible children did not get healthy meals, the NHFS report noted.
In 2016, a government-constituted committee prescribed guidelines:
- Children shouldn’t be allowed to skip their evening meal, they should avoid stepping out in the heat.
- Local public healthcare centres must stock up on anti-convulsion drugs as well as dextrose.
These were adhered to in 2017 and 2018. And that’s why there were relatively fewer reports of AES.
Treating it as a disaster:
The NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) which was set up in 1999 has its brief to co-ordinate the response to “man-made and natural disasters”. Muzaffarpur is facing a disaster which is partly natural and certainly aggravated by being man-made. But it does not qualify. “Disaster”. Floods and earthquakes elicit immediate response, but not long epidemics or drought. Muzaffarpur is a national tragedy, as much as the Gujarat earthquake was, or the Kerala floods and it should be treated as one.
The debate on the underlying reason for so many deaths is an ongoing one. With a spike in deaths every year it is clear that the State has failed Muzaffarpur’s children.
It is time a scientific study is carried out and steps be taken accoridnly.
Connecting the dots:
- Bihar loses hundreds of children to AES (Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) every year. Discuss the possible reasons behind. Also comment on the challenges involved in tackling the issue.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Consider the following,
- Mission Bhagiratha
- Mission Kakatiya
- Polavaram Project
- Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Project
Which of the above are associated with State of Telangana?
- 1 and 2 only
- 1,2 and 3 only
- 1,2 and 4 only
- All of the above
Q.2) Consider the following statements
- The Financial Action Task Force(FATF)is an intergovernmental organization founded on the initiative of the G20.
- Pakitan, Iran and North Korea are three countries in the Blacklist of FATF.
Select the incorrect statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
A stable planet
The most off-track of them all