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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st January 2020

  • IASbaba
  • January 21, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st January 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st January 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


SC : Welfare schemes for religious minorities

Part of: GS Prelims –Polity and GS-II- Vulnerable section

In news:

  • The Supreme Court asked the UP government to respond to a petition alleging that the government is discriminating against Hindus by providing religious minorities with welfare schemes worth thousands of crores.

From Prelims point of view:

National Commission for Minorities

  • Statutory body set up under the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.
  • Unlike other bodies like NCSC and NCST, NCM has no constitutional backing or status.
  • Works under the Ministry of Minority Affairs.
  • It looks into complaints from members of five religious communities notified as a minority community in 2014.( Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) Jain community)

Who are minorities?

  • Constitution  speaks of minorities ‘based on religion or language’ and rights of minorities have been spelt out in Constitution in detail.
  • Six religious communities, viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities by Union Government all over India.

Electoral bonds scheme not to be stalled

Part of: GS Prelims –Polity and GS-II- Election commission 

In news:

  • Chief Justice of India (CJI) said that  the Supreme Court had found it unnecessary to stay the electoral bonds scheme (EBS)
  • Supreme Court recently passed an interim order directing political parties to provide complete information to the ECI in sealed covers on every single donor and contribution received by them till date through electoral bonds

From Prelims point of view:

Electoral bonds

  • The Electoral bonds are instruments/securities used to donate funds to the political parties. 
  • These bonds will be on the lines of bearer bonds or promissory notes wherein the issuer (bank) will be the custodian and will pay the one who holds the bonds (political party

Features:

  • The donor may approach these banks and purchase the bonds.
  • The donor shall be permitted to buy the bonds through cheque/digital payment. Hence the identity of the donors will be protected (if the donors are identified, they may get caught up in political rivalry-especially if the donor is a businessman).
  • The donor will donate these bonds to the political party.
  • The political party has to encash it into the account which is registered with the Election Commission of India.

This is also important for Mains examination we will soon take this issue in Mains Focus section Stay tuned!!

Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)

  • Non-partisan, non-governmental organization which works in the area of electoral and political reforms.
  • ADR aims at bringing transparency and accountability in Indian politics and reducing the influence of money and muscle power in elections.
  • National Election Watch (NEW) is a conglomeration of over 1200 organizations across the country.
  • ADR has become the single data point for information/analysis of Indian politics

Tigersharks : India is placing Sukhoi jets in South India

Part of: GS Prelims –Polity and GS-II- Internal Security

In news:

  • Air force commissioned the 222 squadron, also known as ‘Tigersharks’, for their Thanjavur base Tamil Nadu
  •  It will play a key role in keeping China’s growing clout in the Indian Ocean region 
  • The squadron has Sukhoi-30 carrying the BrahMos cruise missile.

From Prelims point of view:

Sukhoi Su-30MKI

  • A twinjet multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russia
  • Integrates Indian systems and avionics as well as French and Israeli sub-systems.

BRAHMOS

  • Joint venture between India & Russia.
  • Brahmos is named on the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva.
  • air to surface missile with a flight range of around 300 km.

India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has extended the range of the BRAHMOS missile to reach 450 km-600km, a shade above its current MTCR capped range of 300 km.

  • Brahmos is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft, with a weight of 2.5 tonnes.
  • Brahmos is a multiplatform i.e it can be launched from land, air, and sea.
  • It operates on the “Fire and Forgets” principle i.e it does not require further guidance after launch.

Government  to seek green clearance for water aerodromes

Part of: GS Prelims –Polity and GS-II- Vulnerable section

In news:

  • The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has given in-principle clearance to set up aerial airports (AIRDROME) in the country. 
  • Five states – Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Assam – have been identified for its launch. 
  • In the first phase of the project, Chilka Lake (Odisha), Sabarmati River Front and Sardar Sarovar dam (Gujarat) have been marked for the development of such facilities.

From Prelims point of view:

UDAN : ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik’

  • scheme is a part of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)
  • UDAN is a regional connectivity scheme spearheaded by the Government of India (GoI). 
  • Aims to develop smaller regional airports to allow common citizens easier access to aviation services.

Objectives :

  • Operationalization and development of 425 underserved or unserved airports in the country
  • Boost inclusive economic development by providing faster connectivity
  • Development of air transport infrastructure in remote areas aiding job growth

Kerala’s move to challenge CAA 

Part of: GS Prelims –Polity and GS-II- Governor 

In news:

  • Recent controversy concerning the Kerala government’s move to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019
  • Kerala Govt chose to sue the Centre in the Supreme Court under Article 131 without first informing Governor

From Prelims point of view:

Article 131

  • Article 131 : Original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. 
  • Here, ‘Original’ and ‘Exclusive’ means that Court has the power and authority to address, hear and rule a decision in the initial instance. 
  • The exclusivity factor of the jurisdiction provides an exceptional and particular power to the Court to hear and decide the matter than any other Courts

Article 167 :

  • It is the Chief Minister’s duty to communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration and proposals for legislation.
  • It enjoins the Chief Minister to furnish such information relating to the administration as the Governor may call for.
  • There may be occasions when the Governor may need to ask a top bureaucrat or the head of the police force for a report on a major incident or development, but even that should be for the limited purpose of getting an accurate picture before sending a report to the Centre

Sarkaria commission:

  • In June 1983 the Union Government appointed a commission under the chairmanship of Justice R.S. Sarkaria to review the question of centre state relationship

Iran to quit NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons)

Part of: GS Prelims –IR and GS-II- International Organization

In news:

  • Iran threatened to withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if European countries bring alleged violations of the historic nuclear deal with world powers to the United Nations Security Council

From Prelims point of view:

Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

  • The NPT is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
  • The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
  • Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Iran Nuclear deal

  • Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in a 2015 deal struck with the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.
  • Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.
  • The JCPOA established the Joint Commission, with the negotiating parties all represented, to monitor implementation of the agreement.

(MAINS FOCUS)


Governance

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health 
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interest

Healthcare: The Brazilian Way

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st January 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st January 2020

Source of Pic: The Hindu

Context:

The Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro visits to New Delhi this Republic Day and one interesting field of cooperation to explore in the strategic partnership is healthcare.

Brazil, the only country where more than 100 million inhabitants have a universal health system- Unified Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde – SUS). Studying the system will have important lessons for Ayushman Bharat Scheme 

About Brazils SUS

  • SUS, underpinned by the principles of equity, solidary and social participation, aimed to develop a universal, comprehensive and decentralised health system, free of charge at the point of service provision
  • The Unified Health System (SUS), which guaranteed free health coverage that included pharmaceutical services, was written into the new Constitution in 1988. It defined health as a Universal right and a State responsibility
  • The SUS triggered a fundamental restructuring of how the health system is governed which included
    • A process of decentralization and new arrangements for sharing of responsibilities across federal, state and municipal levels.
    • A gradual increase of public spending on health
  • National Health Identification Card: allows a patient’s health record to be accessed via a central database from any public or private hospital within the Unified Health System network.
  • Family Health Programme: Community-based healthcare network who perform monthly visits to every family enrolled in the programme.  They conduct health promotion and prevention activities and effectively manage the relationship between citizens and the healthcare system

Achievements of SUS

  • Every year, the SUS covers more than two million births, 10 million hospital admissions, and nearly one billion ambulatory procedures.
  • Life expectancy has increased from 64 years to almost 76 years. 
  • Infant Mortality Rate has declined from 53 to 14 per 1,000 live births.
  • 95% of those that seek care in the SUS are able to receive treatment
  • Fiscally Prudent achieved by better regulatory system. The cost of the universal health system in Brazil averages around $600 per person, while in the U.K., this number reaches $3.428. Brazil spends 3.8% of GDP on SUS, whereas UK which runs a similar program called NHS spends 7.9% of its GDP
  • The Family Health Programme: Expanded from 4% of coverage in 2000 to up to 64% of the overall population in 2015 which has reduced IMR and increased adult labour supply

Challenges for SUS

  • Economic and political crises, combined with austerity policies, pose a major risk to UHC. Thus the system has to remain resilient to such external shocks
  • Internal shocks such rapid ageing leading to rise in disease burden. Public health spending in Brazil will thus need to increase by nearly 1.6 percentage points of the GDP by 2060 in order to cover the healthcare needs of a fast-ageing society.

Lesson for India from Healthcare system in Brazil

  • Increase in Public health funding -Public health expenditure is still very low in India, at around 1.3% of GDP 
  • Family Health programme which involved regular visit to families ensures regular monitoring of health needs of people and thus strengthens the primary health care system
  • Need for decentralization of the health care responsibilities by empowering municipalities with funds and powers
  • National Health Identification Card scheme can be integrated by making use of Aadhar ecosystem so as to create a better system of coordination between public and private sector healthcare institutions regulated by the Health Agency 

Way Ahead

  • In a heterogeneous society like India where there is regional disparities, one-size-fits-all approach is not advisable
  • Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, and Bihar differ in so many ways and this diversity must be met by an intricate combination of standardised programmes and autonomy to adopt policies according to their characteristics.

Connecting the dots

  • Ayushman Bharat’s 1.5 Lakh wellness centres and Brazils Family Health Programme
  • UK’s National Health Service
  • Private Health care provision through Insurance Model Vs Public Health Service delivery through government hospitals

Economy: Education

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Government Budgeting

GST- Critical analysis of its working

Context: 

Goods and services tax (GST) that was introduced in India in July 2017 has been widely criticized as having failed to deliver the benefits that were expected of it especially in the backdrop of low GDP growth rate.

What were the basic expectations (benefits) from GST regime?

  • Integration of the Indian marketplace
  • Creation of scale efficiencies and 
  • Enhanced gross domestic product (GDP) growth 

There is no systematic study yet of the first two, while GDP growth has slowed in the past few years.

It is wrong to blame GST regime alone for the present state of economy as multiple players are responsible for the state of affairs. Some of the other factors are:

  1. Technology was the biggest let-down during the rollout and this was handled by a private-sector entity. Blaming the government for technological issues is uncalled for.
  2. Revenues of local bodies going down after GST introduction was blamed on GST regime as some of the local taxes were subsumed under GST

Counter Argument: State Governments have been reluctant to devolve funds to local bodies. They have been quite delinquent in constituting finance commissions and thus formulating rules for the devolution of financial revenues to local bodies

  1. Shortfall (relative to expectations) in GST collections is now being blamed, in part, on lax supervision and oversight.

Counter Argument: The decision to rely on self-declarations and filings, rather than on oversight and supervision, was deliberate. It was meant to provide time for businesses to adapt to the new regime.

  1. Tax rates are high with multiple slabs: The Arvind Subramanian committee pegged the revenue-neutral GST rate at 15%

Counter Arguments: When the new tax was launched in July 2017, the rate was 14.4%, and over the next two years, it had come down to around 11.6%. The number of items taxed at the highest GST slab rate of 28% had come down from 226 in July 2017 to a mere 28

Further, several key categories of goods remain outside the GST’s purview. 

Thus, far from being a deterrent to economic activity, the GST had acted as a countercyclical fiscal policy too

What then is the reason for slowdown?

  • Exemptions granted to various businesses from having to pay the tax, the composition schemes made available to small businesses and weaker economic activity have contributed to slower growth in GST revenues.
  • Rural Sector Slowdown due to bad monsoons in consequent years
  • Banking Sector Crisis

So is GST all fine and has it not added to economic difficulties?

GST still has certain issues and where GST might have contributed to the country’s overall economic difficulties is in the services sector.

The number of forms that service producers have to file has increased considerably. In part, this is because of the separate registrations needed in each state, as opposed to the single registration pre-GST

With the services sector being the Indian economy’s biggest, the increased complexity and difficulties faced by service providers might have overshadowed the efficiency gains that accrued to goods and logistics providers

Way Forward

  • Rates would be adjusted only once in a year, which is agreed to by GST Council. This ensure tax predictability thus enhancing ease of doing business.
  • Forms and returns needs to be simplified.
  • Exemption limits for the filing of GST could be raised further without any impact on revenue

Connecting the Dots

  • Direct tax code
  • GST regime and its impact on Federal fiscal structure

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) The Dinesh Goswami Committee was concerned with:

  1. de-nationalisation of banks
  2. electoral reforms
  3. steps to put down insurgency in the north-east
  4. the problem of the Chakmas

Q.2) Given below are two statements, one labelled as Assertion (A) and the other labelled as Reason (R) :

Assertion (A) : The word minority is not defined in the Constitution of India.

Reason (R) : The Minorities Commission is not a constitutional body.

In the context of the above two statements, which one of the following is correct? 

  1. Both A and R are true and R is the correct explanation of A
  2. Both A and R are true but R is not a correct explanation
  3. A is true but R is false
  4. A is false but R is true

Q.3) Consider the following statements about the minorities India: 

  1. The Government of India has notified five communities, namely, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Zoroastrians as Minorities
  2. The National Commission for Minorities was given statutory status in 1993
  3. The smallest religious minority in India are the Zoroastrians
  4. The Constitution of India recognizes and protects religious and linguistic minorities

Which of these statements are correct?

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

Q.4) The power of the Supreme Court of India to decide disputes between the Centre and the State falls under its: 

  1. advisory jurisdiction
  2. appellate jurisdiction
  3. original jurisdiction
  4. constitutional jurisdiction

ANSWERS FOR 20 JAN 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 D
3 D
4 B
5 B

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