IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd July 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
AFSPA in Nagaland extended
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains Paper II and III – Polity, Governance issues and Internal Security
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has extended the operation Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Nagaland for another six months.
- The Centre had declared the state a “disturbed area” to extend the Act.
Important Value Additions:
About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)
- AFSPA was enacted in 1958 to bring under control what the government of India considered ‘disturbed’ areas.
- The state or central government considers those areas as ‘disturbed’ by reason of differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
- Section (3) of AFSPA empowers the governor of the state/Union territory to issue an official notification declaring the state or a region within as a “disturbed area”, after which the centre can decide whether to send in armed forces.
Do you know?
- The AFSPA offers powers to the Army and Central forces deployed in disturbed areas to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant.
- These armed forces are immune from prosecution unless Union Government provides sanction to the prosecuting agencies.
- Currently, AFSPA Act, 1958 is operational in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
Panel of CMs to suggest agriculture reforms
Part of: Main GS Paper III – Government Policies & Interventions; Agriculture
- The Centre has set up a high powered committee of seven chief ministers, led by Maharashtra’s CM as its convenor, to suggest measures to transform Indian agriculture and raise farmers’ income.
Terms of reference (ToR) of the panel
- The panel will suggest on modalities for adoption and time-bound implementation of two key model Acts (a) agriculture market reforms act and (b) contract farming act by the states.
- The panel will also examine various provisions of Essential Commodity Act (ECA),1955 and suggest a mechanism for linking of market reforms with e-NAM, GRAM and other relevant centrally sponsored schemes.
- The panel will also recommend policy measures to boost agricultural exports, raise growth in food processing and attract investments in modern market infrastructure, value chains and logistics.
- The panel will also suggest measures to upgrade agri-technology to global standards and improve access of farmers to quality seed and proposing any other relevant reforms for transformation of agriculture sector and raising farmers income.
- The panel will also study various proposals of the inter-ministerial committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income (DFI) which had suggested specific action points for reforms in the farm and allied sector.
EWS quota: SC to hear pleas for Constitution Bench
Part of: Main GS Paper II– Indian Polity – Constitution and Amendment; Fundamental Rights
- The Supreme Court has agreed to hear plea to have a Constitution Bench to examine the validity of a constitutional amendment providing 10% economic reservation in government jobs and educational institutions.
- The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act provides for 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker section in the unreserved category.
- The Act amends Article 15 and 16 to provide for reservation based on economic backwardness.
Do you know?
- The petitioner has said that economic reservation violated the 50% reservation ceiling limit fixed by a nine-judge Bench in the Indra Sawhney case. Further,the 1992 judgment had barred reservation solely on economic criterion.
- The petitioner has also said that the bill violates the basic feature of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category.
- The Centre has defended the amendment by stating that the newly inserted provisions are in conformity with the principle of affirmative action.
- The government said that the argument that EWS quota will breach 50% limit of reservation is not true as this limit imposed by the Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney case is not applicable after constitution amendment.
- The Centre also negates the petitioners argument that reservation cannot be provided only on the basis of economic criteria.
- It highlighted that several Committees have been set up wherein quantifiable data has been collected highlighting the need for having reservation for the economically weaker sections of the society.
Go Tribal campaign
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains Paper II – Issues Related to SCs & STs
Key PT pointers:
- The campaign aims to create awareness and promote tribal arts and crafts as aid in socio economic welfare of over 700 Indian tribes.
- The Tribal Affairs Ministry and Trifed has launched the Go tribal campaign in association with Amazon Global.
- The event also saw the global Launch of Tribes India through Amazon Global Selling under which Tribes India and Amazon Global Marketing will launch TRIBES India products globally.
- The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) was established in 1987.
- The basic objective of the TRIFED is to provide good price to the products made or collected from the forest by the tribal peoples.
International Whaling Commission (IWC)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains Paper III – Coastal Security; Environment and Biodiversity; Conservation of biodiversity
- Japan has resumed commercial whale hunts after more than three decades.
- This came after Japan has withdrawn from the International Whaling Commission in 2018.
About International Whaling Commission (IWC)
- IWC is an international body set up under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW).
- It aims to provide for the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry.
- The main duty of the IWC is to keep under review and revise as necessary the measures laid down in the Schedule to the Convention which govern the conduct of whaling throughout the world.
- The commercial whaling was banned by the IWC in 1986 after some species were almost driven to extinction.
- IWC consists of 89 countries and all the member countries are signatories to this convention.India is a member of the IWC.
- Body cameras for cops
- Delhi High Court asked the Centre and the Delhi government to consider the suggestion of an advocate for providing body cameras to police officials to monitor their conduct as also of the public. (Example for Police Reforms)
- Body cameras will help to monitor and ensure proper conduct, behaviour of officials as well as public and to ensure foolproof and transparent prosecution in case of any violation.
Do you know?
‘Police brutality’ is a civil rights violation that occurs when a police officer acts with excessive force by using an amount of force with regards to a civilian that is more than necessary.
- App to track your carbon footprint to be launched
- Maharashtra government to launch app that will track citizens’ carbon footprint and reward those who achieve an emission neutral status.
- The move aims to reduce pollution and carbon emission in Maharashtra.
- The idea of the app was initiated after Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised international organisations to bring India’s pollution levels to 2005 levels by 2030.
- The footprints of an individual, as per the app, will include his use of electricity, air conditioning, kitchen activities among others.
Do you know?
- India has, as part of the Paris Summit, promised to reduce green house gas emission by 20% to 25%.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources.
It’s time to act, not do more research: On National Education Policy
- Government has begun to rethink of higher education policies through the draft NEP (National Education Policy) and EQUIP (Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme).
- Before this draft education policy and EQUIP, there are many reports aimed at improving higher education in independent India such as Radhakrishnan Commission of 1949, the National Education Policies of 1968 and 1986, the Yashpal Committee of 2009, the National Knowledge Commission in 2007, etc.
- Recommendations of most of these reports are similar. Therefore the time, energy and resources that EQUIP will require can be better spent on implementing rather than further research.
Challenges before Current Higher Education System
Inadequate allocation of funds
- Higher education in India has been chronically underfunded — it spends less than most other BRICS countries on higher education. Inadequate funding is evident at all levels.
- The last Budget allocated only ₹37,461 crore for the higher education sector.
- Other related ministries and departments such as Space, Scientific and Industrial Research, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology, Health Research and Agricultural Research have been allocated only modest support.
- Funding for basic research, which is largely a Central government responsibility, lags behind peer countries.
Low enrollment and Non completion
- At present, India’s gross enrolment ratio is 25.8%, significantly behind China’s 51% or much of Europe and North America, where 80% or more young people enroll in higher education. India’s challenge is even greater because half of the population is under 25 years of age.
- It is interesting to note that while the draft NEP aims at increasing the gross enrolment ratio to at least 50% by 2035, EQUIP targets doubling the gross enrolment ratio to 52% by 2024.
- The challenge is not only to enrol students, but to ensure that they can graduate. Non-completion is a serious problem in the sector.
Standard of quality of education
- It is universally recognised that much of Indian higher education is of relatively poor quality. Employers often complain that they cannot hire graduates without additional training.
Poor quality and commercial interests of private sector
- The private sector is a key part of the equation. India has the largest number of students in private higher education in the world. But much of private higher education is of poor quality and commercially oriented.
Structure and governance of higher education system
- There is too much bureaucracy at all levels, and in some places, political and other pressures are immense. Professors have little authority and the hand of government and managements is too heavy. At the same time, accountability for performance is generally lacking.
- Dramatically increased funding from diverse sources, and the NEP’s recommendation for a new National Research Foundation is a welcome step in this direction;
- Significantly increased access to post-secondary education, but with careful attention to both quality and affordability, and with better rates of degree completion;
- Longitudinal studies on student outcomes;
- To develop “world class” research-intensive universities, so that it can compete for the best brains, produce top research, and be fully engaged in the global knowledge economy;
- To ensure that the private higher education sector works for the public good;
- To develop a differentiated and integrated higher education system, with institutions serving manifold societal and academic needs;
- Reforms in the governance of college and universities to permit autonomy and innovation at the institutional level;
- Better coordination between the University Grants Commission and ministries and departments involved in higher education, skill development, and research.
Connecting the dots:
- What are the challenges before current higher education system of India? Critically analyse in context of draft national education policy 2019.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Human Resources, etc.
Self care in India: Miles to go
- World Health Organization has released self-help guidelines for sexual and reproductive health.
Need of self care
- With the ability to prevent disease, maintain health and cope with illness and disability with or without reliance on health-care workers, self-care interventions are gaining more importance.
- Millions of people, including in India, face the twin problems of acute shortage of healthcare workers and lack of access to essential health services.
- According to WHO reports over 400 million across the world already lack access to essential health services and there will be a shortage of about 13 million health-care workers by 2035.
About Self care
- Self-care would mean different things for people living in very diverse conditions.
- While it would mean convenience, privacy and ease for people belonging to the upper strata who have easy access to healthcare facilities anytime, for those living in conditions of vulnerability and lack access to health care, it becomes the primary, timely and reliable form of care.
- The WHO recognises self-care interventions as a means to expand access to health services. Soon, the WHO would expand the guidelines to include other self-care interventions, including for prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases.
Self care in India
Pregnancy and abortion
- India has some distance to go before making self-care interventions for sexual and reproductive health freely available to women.
- Home-based pregnancy testing is the most commonly used self-help diagnostics in this area in India. Interventions include self-managed abortions using approved drugs that can be had without the supervision of a healthcare provider.
- While the morning-after pills are available over the counter, mifepristone and misoprostol are scheduled drugs and need a prescription from a medical practitioner, thus defeating the very purpose of the drugs.
HIV self test
- The next commonly consumed drug to prevent illness and disease is the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention. India is yet to come up with guidelines for PrEP use and include it in the national HIV prevention programme.
- One of the reasons why people shy away from getting tested for HIV is stigma and discrimination.
- The home-based testing provides privacy. WHO approved the HIV self-test to improve access to HIV diagnosis in 2016.
Self-care, which mostly happens outside the formal health system, is nothing new. India has some distance to cover before making self-care interventions freely available.
Connecting the dots:
- Self-care interventions can act as a means to expand access to health services. Comment.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) With reference to Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which of the following statements is/are incorrect?
- AFSPA is currently operational in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir
- Section (3) of the AFSPA empowers the governor of the state or Union Territory to declare a region ‘disturbed’
Select the correct statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2) Consider the following statements:
- Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is released by the Central Statistics office.
- The Eight Core Industries comprise more than 60% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
Select the correct statements
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3) Consider the following statements about International Whaling Commission (IWC)
- India is a member of the IWC
- It is one of the United Nations Agencies
- It acts under the Law of the Sea Convention
Select the INCORRECT statements
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Lessons from Bhutan
GST: Two years on, birth pangs have been addressed, the system has stabilised
Imitation registry: on Nagaland NRC