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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 18th March 2020

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  • March 18, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 18th March 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Becquerels

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

In News:

  • The SI unit for measuring the amount of radioactivity is the becquerel (symbol Bq).
  • One becquerel (1Bq) is equal to 1 disintegration per second.
  • An older unit of radioactivity is the curie. The curie was originally defined as equivalent to the number of disintegrations that one gram of radium-226 will undergo in one second. 
  • Currently, a curie is defined using becquerels as 1Ci = 3.7 x 1010 disintegrations per second. 

National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance

In News:

  • NABL is a Constituent Board of Quality Council of India. 
  • NABL has been established with the objective to provide Government, Industry Associations and Industry in general with a scheme for third-party assessment of the quality and technical competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

About Quality Council of India (QCI) 

  • QCI was set up in 1997 as an autonomous body 
  • It was setup jointly by the Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations i.e.
    • Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM),
    • Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and
    • Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
  • It aims to establish and operate national accreditation structure and promote quality through National Quality Campaign. 
  • Ministry of Commerce & Industry, is the nodal ministry for QCI.
  • Chairman of QCI is appointed by the Prime Minister on recommendation of the industry to the government.

Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Federalism

In News:

  • The Assam government’s decision to restrict large gatherings as a precaution against the COVID-19 may cast a shadow on the BTC elections(40 seats) 
  • BTC Polls are conducted by State Election Commission 
  • Any decision on rescheduling the polls would be taken by the Governor, who is the constitutional head of areas under the Sixth Schedule.

About BTC

  • The second Bodo accord, 2003 led to the formation of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
  • The area under the BTC jurisdiction is now officially called the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) comprising of 3,082 villages in four districts— Kokrajhar, Chirang, Udalguri and Baska.

Sixth schedule of the Constitution:

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India (Articles 244(2) and 275(1)) provides for decentralized self-governance and dispute resolution through local customary laws in parts of the North East which are mainly tribal areas.
  • It contains provisions as to the Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram

Lopinavir and Ritonavir

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Health

In News:

  • These are anti-HIV drugs 
  • This drug combination isrecommended by Union Health Ministry to be used on a case-to-case basis depending upon the severity of the condition of a person having coronavirus infection.

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Security

In News:

  • LCA Tejas is a single-engine multirole light combat aircraft.
  • It replaced the aging Mig 21 fighter planes.
  • It is the second supersonic fighter jet that was developed by HAL (the first one being HAL HF-24 Marut).
  • Bodies involved: Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the autonomous society of DRDO is the design agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the manufacturer
  • It is the lightest and smallest multirole supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
  • It can attend the maximum speed of Mach 1.8. 
  • It is designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided and standoff weaponry.
  • It is a single pilot aircraft that has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,300 kg. 
  • It has a general range of 850 km and a combat range of 500 km.

Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Health

In News:

  • Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) is a zoonotic disease (spreads from animals to humans – just like COVID-19, Ebola, HIV, Anthrax, SARS)
  • KFD is a tick-borne viral haemorrhagic fever endemic to South India.
  • It was first identified in 1957 in a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest in Karnataka
  • Hard ticks (Hemaphysalis spinigera) are the reservoir of KFD virus. Rodents, shrews, and monkeys are common hosts for KFDV after being bitten by an infected tick
  • Transmission to humans may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal, most importantly a sick or recently dead monkey. No person-to-person transmission has been described
  • Larger animals such as cattle, goats or sheep may become infected with KFD but play a limited role in transmission of disease to humans
  • Signs and Symptoms: After an incubation period of 3-8 days, the symptoms like chills, fever, headache, severe muscle pain, vomiting, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding may occur. 
  • Endemic Regions of KFD in India are:
    • Karnataka
    • Tamil Nadu
    • Kerala states
  • Prevention: A vaccine does exist for KFD and is used in endemic areas of India. Additional preventative measures include insect repellents and wearing protective clothing in areas where ticks are endemic

(MAINS FOCUS)


Society & Governance

Topic: General Studies 2:

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

A case for more policewomen

Context: India persists with a male-dominated police force. 

In 2009 the Home Ministry set 33% as the target for women’s representation in the police.

Present Status of Women in Police

  • Inadequate representation: In 2019, women comprised less than 10% of police personnel.
  • Only seven States (Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Sikkim) had more than 10% policewomen. 
  • Slow pace of women intake: There has been only a 5% increase in the number of policewomen in a decade (3.65% in 2009 to 8.98% in 2019).
  • The annual change in the share of women in the police force from 2012 to 2016 was found to be less than 1% across States, according to the India Justice Report, 2019
  • At this rate, most States will take over 50 years to achieve the 33% target.

Selective Implementation

  • Although States have adopted the reservation policy, they are very selective about its implementation. 
  • Restrictive Reservations: Very few States apply reservation for women at all the entry points (constable, sub-inspector, and deputy superintendent of police levels) or to all posts at each level. 
    • Some States (Kerala and Karnataka) have reservation for women only at the constable rank. 
    • Some (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu) extend it to the constable and sub-inspector ranks. But here too there are restrictions: reservation is limited to specific cadre posts within each rank.

Consequence of Selective Implementation

  • Huge disparity in the representation of women across ranks
  • Inadequate Women at Top decision making level: There are far fewer women at the gazetted ranks at the State level (assistant sub-inspector to deputy superintendent of police) than those at the constabulary level. 
    • This means that women are most prominent in the most junior ranks.
    • Women remain in large numbers at the bottom of the ladder without moving up.
  • Inefficient Policing: As a consequence, there are not enough women personnel to perform exclusive functions when gender-based crimes are reported
    • For instance, in 2013, the Home Ministry said that at least three women sub-inspectors should be available in a police station as investigating officers. 
    • Tamil Nadu, which has the highest percentage of women personnel (17.46%), requires 6,057 women sub-inspectors to meet this standard across its 2,019 police stations. 
    • At present, it has barely one-fourth of that requirement.

Other Challenges for Women Police Officers

  • Women are typecast — for example, they are asked to deal with crimes against women, while they are kept outside the mainstream of varied experiences
    • As a result, new recruits will become increasingly ghettoised in the absence of a framework to guide their career path.
  • Frequent inter-district transfers
  • Disallowing postings in home districts for specified periods of time 
  • Poor childcare support systems 
  • Lack of basic amenities like toilets, uncomfortable duty gear (designed mainly for men) and inadequate privacy.
  • Policing sub-culture, with its association with “masculinity” and coercive force, has impacted the mental pressure on women police officers

Way Forward

  • Effective implementation of Reservation Policy at all levels to increase the number of women in Police department
  • Gender sensitization among the Police Personnel and also among the public
  • Gender-friendly gadgets and clothes.
  • State- funded special health checkup for women personnel like pap smear tests (for cervical cancer), mammography (for breast cancer) and tests for estimation of bone density, 
  • Sanitary pad dispensers should be installed at all women posts and portable toilets be provided to them under the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission.
  • More creches, school pickup and drop facilities for children and clean living quarters and toilet facilities

Conclusion

  • Increasing the number of recruits alone will not be enough; institutional changes embedded in principles of diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunities are as important. Otherwise, discrimination and exclusion will continue to persist even as the numbers of women increase.

Connecting the dots

  • Women in Judiciary
  • 33% Reservation for Women in Parliament and State legislature

International Affairs

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

A revival of Multilateralism, steered by India

The COVID-19 pandemic which has confronted the world has two aspects:

  • The disease is cross-national in character- it respects no national boundaries and are not amenable to national solutions
  • Cross-domain in nature: The diseases has strong feedback loops. A disruption in one domain often cascades into parallel disruptions in other domains.

What should be the underlying principle to tackle COVID-19 pandemic?

  • The intersection of cross-national and cross-domain challenges demand multilateral approaches. 
  • They require empowered international institutions of governance. 
  • Underlying these must be a spirit of internationalism and solidarity, a sense of belonging to a common humanity. 

Rise of Nationalism

  • Over the past decade and more, the world has been moving in direction opposite to that of multilateralism
  • There has been an upsurge in narrow nationalism, an assertion of parochial interests over pursuit of shared interests 
  • There has been increased competition among states rather than embracing collaboration. 
  • US-China Trade war, BREXIT, US coming out of Paris Climate deal, Rise of right wing parties in Europe and decline in WTO are reflection of this trend

The Present State of Play vis-à-vis COVID-19 Pandemic

  • COVID-19 has brought these deepening contradictions (need for multilateralism to combat the challenges vs rise of nationalism) into very sharp relief.
  • COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge which recognises no political boundaries It is a health crisis but is also spawning an economic crisis through disrupting global value chains and creating a simultaneous demand shock
  • But interventions to deal with the COVID-19 crisis are so far almost entirely at the national level, relying on quarantine and social distancing
  • There is virtually no coordination at the international level. 
  • There is also blame game that has erupted between China and the USA which does not augur well for international cooperation and leadership. 

The long-term impact of the pandemic could follow alternative pathways. 

  1. Revival of Multilateralism: The more hopeful outcome would be for countries to finally realise that there is no option but to move away from nationalistic urges and embrace the logic of international cooperation through revived and strengthened multilateral institutions and processes.
  2. Intensification of Nationalist trends
    • Countries could begin to build walls around themselves
    • Existing multilateralism gets further weakened. 
    • Institutions such as UN and WHO which are already marginalised may become increasingly irrelevant. 
    • There could be a return to autarkic economic and trade policies and an even deeper and more pervasive anti-globalisation sentiment. 

An Opportunity for India

  • This is when the world needs leadership and statesmanship
  • Success of 2008 response: U.S.-led response to the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 lead to the birth of G-20 summit and a coordinated response prevented catastrophic damage to the global economy.
  • Since US and West have adopted nationalistic leaning, India which is a key G-20 country, the world’s fifth largest economy and with a long tradition of international activism should step into the leadership role by advocating the multilateral approach of tackling the pandemic
  • A leadership role in mobilising global collaboration would be in keeping with India’s traditional activism on the international stage.
  • India’s recent video conferencing with SAARC nation to collaborate on tackling the pandemic in the subcontinent is a step in right direction
  • This should be followed by an international initiative, either through the G-20 or through the U.N.
  • India should reaffirm its policy of seeking friendship with all countries – which is the underlying principle followed in our non-alignment foreign policy practised since Nehru time.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic presents India with an opportunity to revive multilateralism, become a strong and credible champion of internationalism and assume a leadership role in a world that is adrift – Shyam Saran (former Foreign Secretary)

Connecting the dots

  • India’s recent initiatives in Solar energy
  • BIMSTEC and SAARC – Which one should India focus on?

(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. Consider the following statements about Quality Council of India (QCI)

  1. It is a statutory body set up in 1997 to promote quality through National Quality Campaign. 
  2. Its Chairman of QCI is appointed by the Prime Minister and the nodal ministry of the body is Ministry of Commerce & Industry

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 2. Consider the following statements about Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD)

  1. It is a zoonotic disease that is endemic to North-Eastern India
  2. There is no vaccination for the disease and can only be prevented by taking precautionary measures such as using insect repellents and wearing protective clothing in areas where ticks are endemic

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. Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) was established under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
  2. Governor is the constitutional head of areas under the Sixth Schedule.

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 4. Consider the following statements about Tejas Aircraft

  1. It is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronotics Limited in collaboration with USA’s Boeing Company
  2. It is the lightest and smallest multirole supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.

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 5. Becquerels often seen in news is related to which of the following?

  1. Radioactivity
  2. Music
  3. Marine Pollution
  4. Air Pollution

ANSWERS FOR 17 March 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B
3 C
4 B
5 A

Must Read

About COVID-19 

The Hindu

About Prediction Model for COVID-19:

The Hindu

About Biometrics in Policing:

The Hindu

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