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

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



Nobel laureate Michael Kremer’s India Link

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Education

In News

  • Kremer’s non-profit advisory service –Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD)- has helped 6 lakh farmers
  • Randomised controlled trials – the research for which the Nobel was awarded – showed that a low-cost mobile phone based agriculture consulting service, developed by PAD led to an annual income growth of about ₹7,000 per farmer.
  • When farmers could call a helpline for real-time expert advice on sowing and irrigation decisions and inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, yields rose by 28% for those producing cumin and 8.6% for those growing cotton in Gujarat,
  • PAD India began work with 2,000 cotton farmers in Gujarat in 2016, and now reaches six lakh farmers across the country, with the biggest contingent of 5.25 lakh coming from Odisha.
  • Working with the Coffee Board of India, PAD India has connected 15,000 coffee growers in Karnataka to hydrologists and agronomists over the last year, with a plan to ramp up numbers to 50,000 farmers.
  • Nationwide, PAD India projects get 800-1,000 calls a day, with answers being provided within two hours to 72% of queries.

PM-JAY health scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Health

In News

  • Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have emerged as the top performing States of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana
  • Nearly Rs7,901 crore has been availed under the scheme for secondary and tertiary level treatments
  • Half-a-crore hospital treatments have been provided and there are 9 hospital admissions every minute across India
  • More than 60% of the amount spent has been on tertiary care. Cardiology, Orthopaedics, Radiation Oncology, Cardio-thoracic and Vascular Surgery, and Urology have emerged as the top tertiary specialities.

About PM-JAY

  • PM-JAY is the flagship scheme of the government with an aim to bring quality healthcare to around 50 crore poor and vulnerable Indians.
  • The scheme gives annual healthcare benefits of up to 5 lakh for every entitled family.
  • The scheme has resulted in saving of over 12,000 crore to the beneficiary families in the past one year of its operations. 


Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-I – Art & Culture

In News

  • In 2019, India and the Netherlands will commemorate Rembrandt’s 350th death anniversary with a showcase that will celebrate the two countries’ culture and heritage.
  • Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606 – 1669) was a Dutch draughtsman, painter and printmaker. He is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.
  • Rembrandt was interested in Mughal miniatures, especially around the 1650s.
  • He made 25 drawings based on Mughal miniatures from India during 1656 to 1661, at the height of his career. This is in spite of the fact that the Dutch artist never set foot on Indian soil.
  • These miniatures include paintings of Shah Jahan, Akbar, Jahangir and Dara Shikoh.
  • They may also have influenced the costumes and other aspects of his works.


Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Health

In News

  • Union Health Minister gave away Kayakalp awards to Public and Private Health Facilities for high standards of sanitation and hygiene.
  • Kayakalp awards were launched by Union Health Ministry in 2015 as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to felicitate Public Health Facilities (PHCs) for maintaining high standards of sanitation and hygiene. 
  • Objective isto inculcate culture of cleanliness for gaining the trust and confidence of community in these facilities.
  • The Union Health Ministry grants the awards through the National Health Mission.


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

In News

  • A novel security ink that emits intense red colour when exposed to 254 nm wavelength UV and emits green colour soon after the UV source is turned off has been synthesised by a team of researchers from the Delhi-based National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL).
  • The emission of red is due to fluorescence while green is due to phosphorescence phenomenon.
  • This is the first report of an ink that contains two pigments that emit different colours at very different wavelengths when exposed to UV light of a particular wavelength
  • The ink has the potential to be used as a security feature on currency notes and passports.


  • It is a type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Unlike fluorescence, a phosphorescent material does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs.
  • In certain materials, absorbed radiation is re-emitted at a lower intensity for up to several hours after the original excitation.
  • Everyday examples of phosphorescent materials are the glow-in-the-dark toys that glow after being charged with a bright light such as in any normal reading or room light

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/10/13/VIS/Visakhapatnam/TH/5_13/0fea5b9e_3258936_1_mr.jpg



TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

National Judicial Appointments Commission


  • Four years ago, on October 16, 2015, the Supreme Court (SC) struck down as unconstitutional an amendment to the Constitution establishing the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
  • The amendment and the corresponding law were challenged by the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association (SCAORA) believing, rightly, that the amendment would violate the basic structure of the Constitution by depriving the judiciary of its independence.

Do you know?

  • The right to select judges to the Supreme Court was taken upon itself by the apex court in 1993 and revalidated in a 1998 judgment (Third Judges case).
  • The current government tried to change that with the passage of a law on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), but the law was shot down — again by the Supreme Court.
  • NJAC was struck down by the SC because it would have compromised the independence of the CJI and given a role to the government in the appointment of judges.
  • Unlike in the U.S. where judges are appointed by the President and are known to be leaning towards the Democrats or Republicans, Indian judges are not supposed to have any political affiliation.

Do you know?

  • The Collegium includes the five senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, who collectively constitute the selection panel for judicial appointments to the Supreme Court (and the three senior-most judges when it comes to the High Courts).
  • India is one of the few countries where judges have the last word on judicial appointments, through the mechanism of the Collegium.
  • The Collegium itself is not mentioned in the text of the Constitution. It arose out of a judgment of the Supreme Court, and in response to increased executive interference in judicial appointments, particularly during Indira Gandhi’s regime.
  • Therefore, the Collegium began life as a tool to secure and guarantee the independence of the judiciary.

 “National Judicial Appointments Commission”, which was suggested as an alternative to Collegium system. But NJAC was struck down by the SC in 2015.

What was the proposed composition of the NJAC?

  • The CJI was the chair, ex officio, and along with him were the next two senior judges.
  • The Union Minister of Law and Justice was an ex officio member along with two eminent persons.
  • They were to recommend persons for appointment as judges of the SC and high courts and the transfer of judges of the high courts (including chief justices)

Why was NJAC struck down by the SC?

  • SC bench had held that judicial primacy in appointments was the only constitutionally-authorised way of securing/ensuring judicial independence against an increasingly powerful political executive.
  • However, the Collegium had come under increasing criticism, because of its opacity and perceived notion that judicial appointments were too often made in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner.
  • SC too acknowledged the above criticism and vowed to evolve a system where concerns of transparency will be addressed.
  • A small step towards this was made during Dipak Misra’s tenure as CJI, when the resolutions of the Collegium began to be published online.

In his NJAC judgment (2015), Justice J.S. Khehar discussed the issue of reciprocity at length in striking down the commission.

  • Justice Khehar preferred exclusion of the political executive from the appointment of judges as a feeling of gratitude towards the government impacts the independence of the judiciary.
  • It was for this very reason that even B.R. Ambedkar wanted to insulate the judiciary from political pressures.

Recent developments:

  • CJI had written to the law minister that 43 recommendations made by the collegium were pending with the government and the vacancies in the high courts were to the extent of about 37 per cent.
  • the collegium recommended that Justice Irshad Ali be made a permanent judge of the Allahabad High Court, government rejected the recommendation (without furnishing any reason or justification)

Connecting the dots:

  • The unconstitutional NJAC is rearing its head and is now Frankenstein’s monster. Critically analyze.


TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

One nation one language


  • Recently, on the occasion of Hindi Divas, the Union Minister of Home Affairs held that if one language can do the work of uniting the country, then it is the most spoken language, Hindi.


  • It is important to have a language of the whole country which should become the identity of India globally. Hindi can unite the country since it is the most spoken language.
  • There is a huge influence of English on the citizens of India.


  • The Constituent Assembly of India adopted Hindi written in Devnagari Script along with English as the official language of the country on September 14, 1949, under Article 343(1).
  • Article 351 gives power to the Union Government to issue a directive for the development of the Hindi language.
  • The Hindi language is one of the 22 languages of the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • The imposition of Hindi was contested in many non-Hindi states, especially in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Violent protests broke out in southern India leading the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to introduce the ‘Official Languages Act’ in 1963, which assured the continuation of English along with Hindi as the official language of the Union of India.


  • People across India—particularly in the East and the South—Hindi is not the language of choice of most people.
  • It is a language of convenience.
  • An evened out version of Hindi would be a disaster for Hindi itself. It would destroy its multiple identities, many of them quite charming.
  • It will compromise our many wonderful regional languages, the languages that give us our identity, our sense of belonging.

Bangladesh case:

  • Bangladesh was liberated by a handful of brave Bengali students who raised the flag of protest when the attempt was made to impose Urdu, the language of political power in West Pakistan, on them.

Way Forward

  • Rethink the three-language policy(Kothari committee), which exists just on paper now.
  • Try other ways to foster national unity than imposing a language..
  • A united nation has to have space for diversity and  India is united in its diversity.


  • A Tamilian needs to be a Tamilian first. A Maharashtrian needs to be a Maharashtrian first. A Naga needs to be a Naga first before he understands what being an Indian is.
  • Our identities are defined by the language we are born into, the culture we inherit, the myths we grew up with, the stories we heard from our grandparents in the language they spoke.
  • Nothing can ever replace that. Certainly not an Aadhar card. Nor a national language.

Connecting the dots :

  • Playing with language is akin to playing with fire. Analyse
  • It is a fallacy to imagine that we need a common language to feel connected. Justify.


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
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Q.1)Consider the following statements about Pradhan Mantri Jan AarogyaYojana  (PM-JAY)

  1. PM-JAY is the world’s largest government funded healthcare program,with an aim to bring quality healthcare to around 50 crore poor and vulnerable Indians.
  2. The scheme gives annual healthcare benefits of up to ₹5lakh for every entitled family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
  3. PMJAY will provide cashless and paperless access to services for the beneficiary at the point of service.

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

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

Q.2)Consider the following statements about Kayakalp Awards

  1. Kayakalp awards were launched by Union Health Ministry in 2015 as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  2. It was instituted to felicitate Public Health Facilities (PHCs) for maintaining high standards of sanitation and hygiene.
  3. The Objective of the awards is to inculcate culture of cleanliness for gaining the trust and confidence of community in these facilities.

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

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

Q.3)Consider the following statements

  1. The Differences Between Fluorescence and Phosphorescenceis that fluorescence emits light immediately after photon adsorption, whereas there is a delay with phosphorescence
  2. Everyday examples of phosphorescent materials are the glow-in-the-dark toys, stickers, paint, wristwatch and clock dials that glow after being charged with a bright light

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


Another grim reminder: On IMF’s GDP projections

The Hindu

Lynching, the scourge of new India

The Hindu

A cost-effective way to power generation

The Hindu

Nobel’s literary constraints

The Hindu

Those who denigrate Mahatma’s legacy today must answer: Is it possible to imagine India without Gandhi?


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