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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th August 2019

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  • August 16, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th August 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Chief of Defence Staff

Part of: GS Prelims 

  • PM Narendra Modi announced that government has decided to establish the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDF) for the three services — the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.
  • CDS is a post that will act as the single-point advisor to the Government of India.
  • CDS will be in a position to advise on matters related to all the three services — Army, Navy and Air Force — thus making India’s armed forces integrated.
  • CDS will be a ‘first among equals’, a fourth four-star officer who will be senior to the three other service chiefs
  • The post is aimed at ensuring better coordination between the three services.
  • The intention is to “reconcile possible differences” in service-specific opinions to enable the government to arrive at considered military decisions.
  • The institution of a CDS will also foster inter-services jointness in terms of budgeting, equipment purchases, training, joint doctrines and planning of military operations- necessary for strategizing a robust and cost-efficient national defence policy.

Do You know?

  • The recommendation for creating the post of CDS was first made after the 1999 Kargil War.
  • A group of ministers that was formed in 2001 to explore necessary reforms required to improve India’s national security had also favoured creating the post of CDS
  • In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Task Force recommended that post of a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC) should be created. 
  • The CoSC comprises chiefs of the Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force. The senior-most among them would act as the chairman.

Tax Administration

Part of: Mains GS-II – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

In News

  • All notices and orders of Income Tax Department issued on or after the 1st of October, 2019 shall carry a computer-generated Document Identification Number (DIN)
  • It was found that majority of IT notices/orders have been issued manually, without maintaining a proper audit trail of such communication
  • The initiative of DIN is intended to maintain proper audit trail of all such communication from IT department
  • Under exceptional cases where manual communication is required to be issued, the reason for issue of manual communication without DIN has to be specified alongwith the date of obtaining written approval of the Chief Commissioner / Director General of Income-Tax.
  • This is step taken by CBDT will bring greater transparency in the functioning of the tax-administration and improvement in service delivery

Competition Law Review

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS II – Governance

In News

  • The Government constituted a Competition Law Review Committee on 1st October, 2018 to review the existing Competition law framework and make recommendations to further strengthen the framework to inter alia meet new economy challenges.
  • The Committee was chaired by Shri Injeti Srinivas 
  • The committee has submitted its report and some of its key recommendation are:
  • Introduction of a ‘Green Channel’ for combination notifications to enable fast-paced regulatory approvals for majority of mergers and acquisitions having not much adverse effects on competition.
  • Introducing a dedicated bench in NCLAT for hearing appeals under the Competition Act
  • Introduction of express provisions to identify ‘hub and spoke’ agreements as well as agreements that do not fit within typical horizontal or vertical anti-competitive structures to cover agreements related to business structures and models synonymous with new age markets.
  • CCI to issue guidelines on imposition of penalty to ensure more transparency and faster decision making which will encourage compliance by businesses.
  • Strengthening the governance structure of CCI with the introduction of a Governing Board to oversee advocacy and quasi-legislative functions, leaving adjudicatory functions to the Whole-time Members.
  • Merging DG’s Office with CCI as an ‘Investigation Division’ as it aids CCI in discharging an inquisitorial rather than adversarial mandate. However, functional autonomy must be protected.
  • Opening of CCI offices at regional level to carry out non-adjudicatory functions such as research, advocacy etc. and interaction with State Governments and State regulators.

Do You know?

  • Competition Act, 2002 provided for the establishment of a Commission to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect the interests of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets, in India.
  • The 2002 act replaces “The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969”

Microplastics

Part of: Mains GS III- Environmental Conservation

In News

  • Tiny pieces of plastic (shreds less than 5mm in length ) was found in Arctic snow and the Alps
  • The research predicts that microplastic particles are transported tremendous distances through the atmosphere.
  • These particles are later washed out of the air by precipitation, particularly snow.
  • The team’s hypothesis for airborne transportation builds on past research conducted on pollen, where experts confirmed that pollen from near the equator ends up in the Arctic.
  • Similarly, dust from the Sahara desert can cover thousands of kilometres and end up in northeast Euro.
  • The study raises concern as to whether and how much plastic we’re inhaling.

(MAINS FOCUS)


DEFENCE/SECURITY

TOPIC: 

General studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

General studies 3:

  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Office of the Chief of Defence Staff 

Context:

  • In his Independence Day address Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff to provide “effective leadership at the top level” to the three wings of the armed forces, and to help improve coordination among them.

What is the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)?

  • The CDS is a high military office that oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services, and offers seamless tri-service views and single-point advice to the Executive (in India’s case, to the Prime Minister) on long-term defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all, “joints manship” in operations.
  • In most democracies, the CDS is seen as being above inter-Service rivalries and the immediate operational preoccupations of the individual military chiefs. The role of the CDS becomes critical in times of conflict.
  • Most countries with advanced militaries have such a post, albeit with varying degrees of power and authority. The United States Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), for example, is extremely powerful, with a legislated mandate and sharply delineated powers.
  • He is the most senior military officer and military adviser to the President, and his remit extends to the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Defence Secretary.

Why had India not appointed a CDS until now?

  • India has had a feeble equivalent known as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC); but this is a toothless office, given the manner in which it is structured. 
  • The senior most among the three Service Chiefs is appointed to head the CoSC, an office that lapses with the incumbent’s retirement.
  • The current Chairman CoSC is Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, who succeeded the former Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba on May 31. 
  • When ACM Dhanoa retires at the end of September 2019, he would have served as Chairman CoSC for a mere four months.
  • In 2015, then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had described the CoSC arrangement as “unsatisfactory”, and its Chairman as a “figurehead”.
  • The post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of assets
  • The CoSC system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years. Apprehensions in the political class about a powerful military leader, along with inter-Services bickering, have long worked to dis incentivise the upgrade of the post.

Background:

  • The first proposal for a CDS came from the 2000 Kargil Review Committee (KRC), which called for a reorganisation of the “entire gamut of national security management and apex decision-making and structure and interface between the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces Headquarters”. 
  • The Group of Ministers Task Force that studied the KRC Report and recommendations proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security that a CDS, who would be five-star officer, be created.
  • In preparation for the post, the government created the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) in late 2002, which was to eventually serve as the CDS’s Secretariat. However, over the past 17 years, this has remained yet another nebulous department within the military establishment.

But what happened to the proposal?

  • No consensus emerged among the Services, with the IAF especially opposed to such a move. The Congress, then in opposition, was against the idea of concentrating too much military power in the CDS’s post. 
  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) too, opposed it subtly for the same reasons, and because it could disrupt civil-military ties in the latter’s favour.
  • The smaller Air Force and Navy fear that the CDS would be from the Army, by far the largest Service. The IAF has long argued that unlike the United States and other western militaries, the Indian Services are not an expeditionary force, for which a CDS is a necessity. 
  • The appointment of a CDS would also lead to theatre commands, another aspect that the IAF opposes, fearing a diminution of its operational role.
  • In 2011, more than a decade after the KRC Report, the UPA government, led by the Congress, which had opposed the CDS proposal when in opposition, set up the Naresh Chandra Committee on defence and security. 
  • The 14-member Committee, comprising retired Service Chiefs and other defence experts, suggested a watered-down version of the CDS proposal, in which the Chairman CoSC in the rank of a four-star officer would have a fixed tenure of two years. 
  • He would have significantly more authority and powers than the Chairman CoSC, and would be a CDS in all but name.

What is the case for having a CDS?

  • Although the KRC did not directly recommend a CDS — that came from the GoM — it underlined the need for more coordination among the three Services, which was poor in the initial weeks of the Kargil conflict.
  • The KRC Report pointed out that India is the only major democracy where the Armed Forces Headquarters is outside the apex governmental structure. It observed that Service Chiefs devote most of their time to their operational roles, “often resulting in negative results”. Long-term defence planning suffers as day-to-day priorities dominate. 
  • Also, the Prime Minister and Defence Minister do not have the benefit of the views and expertise of military commanders, in order to ensure that higher level defence management decisions are more consensual and broad based.
  • The CDS is also seen as being vital to the creation of “theatre commands”, integrating tri-service assets and personnel like in the US military. India has 17 Service commands at different locations and duplicating assets.
  • In 2016, China integrated its military and other police and paramilitaries into five theatres from the earlier seven area commands, each with its own inclusive headquarters, one of which has responsibility for the Indian border. In contrast, India’s border with China is split between the Eastern, Western, and Northern Commands.

What are the arguments against?

  • Theoretically, the appointment of a CDS is long overdue, but there appears to be no clear blueprint for the office to ensure its effectiveness. India’s political establishment is seen as being largely ignorant of, or at best indifferent towards, security matters, and hence incapable of ensuring that a CDS works.
  • Militaries by nature tend to resist transformation. In the US, the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act elevated the Chairman from first among equals to the “principal military advisor” to the President and the Secretary of Defence.
  • In the Indian context, critics fear, the absence of foresight and understanding might end up making the CDS just another case of “jobs for the boys”.

Who at present advises India’s Prime Minister on military matters?

  • In effect it is the National Security Adviser. This has been especially so after the Defence Planning Committee was created in 2018, with NSA Ajit Doval as its chairman, and the foreign, defence, and expenditure secretaries, and the three Service Chiefs as members.

Connecting the dots:

  1. To what extent do you think India needs a chief of defence staff at the apex level to take the responsibility of decision making under critical and necessary conditions.
  2. Differentiate between defence forces, paramilitary forces and central armed police forces.
  3. Discuss the Pros and Cons for the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff?

HEALTH

TOPIC: General studies 2:

  • Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Measles

Context:

  • India ranked 4th and, according to WHO, has around 2.3 million children who remain unvaccinated for measles.

Concern:

  • Globally, 20 million children did not receive measles vaccination in 2018. India had the highest incidence rate—76.4 per million population—for measles amongst children under the age of one between July 2018-June 2019. However, the overall number of children having the disease fell to 24,076 (January-June 2019) from 69,391 in 2018.

Spread of Measles and Rubella in India

  • According to latest Global Measles and Rubella Update, India had 56,399 confirmed measles cases and 1,066 confirmed rubella cases in 2018.
  • As per WHO, measles is a leading cause of death in children, with one-third (around 56,000 in 2011) of all measles deaths worldwide happening in India.
  • Rubella causes birth defects, such as irreversible deafness and blindness in nearly 40 thousand children in India every year.
  • At least 220 million children from 30 states and union territories have already been vaccinated under the nationwide campaign that started in 2017.

Key notes:

  • The disease is commonly known as German measles (or three-day measles) and is symptomatically similar to measles.
  • It can have devastating consequences if a pregnant mother is infected with it and the foetus may be born with incurable congenital anomalies.
  • Symptoms of the infection can include cataracts and deafness.
  • It can also affect the heart and the brain.
  • The congenital rubella infection is believed to affect approximately 25,000 children born in India every year.
  • Measles vaccine is currently provided under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). However, rubella vaccine will be a new addition to it.

What is Measles?

  • Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. It can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and brain infection.

 What is Rubella?

  • Rubella is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing CRS, which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (cataract, glaucoma), ears (hearing loss), brain (mental retardation, microcephaly) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general. 

Recent issues:

  • Delhi High Court put on hold the govt plan for a measles rubella vaccination campaign in schools across the capital, saying the decision did not have the consent of parents.
  • The court’s order introduced a dimension to vaccination — the question of consent — that had not been adequately dealt with earlier.
  • Court’s order said that ‘measles vaccination cannot be administered “forcibly” and without the consent of parents,’ it introduced a dimension to vaccination — the question of consent — that had not been adequately dealt with earlier.

Different views on consent

  • Parents: It is settled principle that choice of an individual, even in cases of life-saving medical treatment, is an inextricable part of dignity which ought to be protected.
  • Government: Consent in routine immunisation is implied because it is the parents or members of the family who bring the child to the hospital or healthcare centre. For public good and for a vaccine that is tried and tested, there is ample evidence on safety and efficacy and something which is already a part of the universal immunisation programme, written consent should not be essential.
  • Schools were consciously chosen, rather than health centres or hospitals, because nowhere else can such large numbers of children in the relevant age group be targeted.
  • Global practice: Parental consent should be obtained prior to vaccination. This is the standard practice around the world. Although, World Health Organization recognises oral, written, and implied consent for vaccination, but countries are encouraged to adopt procedures that ensure that parents have been informed and agreed to the vaccination

Why India ranks 4th in terms of measles outbreak?

  • Vaccination rates must rise at a large scale, especially, in conflict ridden and poor areas—the worst-hit by plummeting vaccination rates
  • The migration from these regions to other countries, the problem of missing vaccination could truly become universal
  • Poor healthcare infrastructure and awareness
  • The ‘anti-vaxx’ propaganda is emerging as the biggest obstacle. Concrete steps to negate and curb the spread of such propaganda also need to be taken.

Connecting the dots:

  1. The reported cases and deaths due to the measles are on the rise in comparison with previous years’ records. Discuss the reasons behind it. Also elaborate on what preventive steps should be taken by the government.

(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 Competition Law Review Committee constituted in October 2018

  1. The Committee was chaired by Bimal Jalan
  2. The committee proposes introducing a dedicated bench in NCLAT for hearing appeals under the Competition Act
  3. The committee also proposes opening of CCI offices in every state to carry out non-adjudicatory functions such as research, advocacy etc. and interaction with State Governments and State regulators.

Which of the statement(s) given above is / are incorrect?

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about Document Identification Number

  1. It is an initiative of GST Council 
  2. It will bring greater transparency in the functioning of the tax-administration and improvement in service delivery

Which of the statement(s) given above is / are correct?

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements

  1. Tiny pieces of plastic (shreds less than 5mm in length) are found in Arctic snow
  2. The presence of microplastics in such places suggests that they are being carried around the planet in atmospheric winds, and that we’re breathing them in. 

Which of the statement(s) given above is / are correct?

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

MUST READ:

Micro plastics in Arctic snow point to widespread air contamination 

The Hindu

Lessons after the great deluge 

The Hindu

Why WTO needs an interim arbitration body

Financial Express

Lessons after the great deluge

The Hindu

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