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

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  • March 21, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st March 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Health & Governance

  • In News: All pneumonia patients must be notified to the IDSP so that they can be tested for COVID-19
  • IDSP is an initiative by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs started in 2004 with the assistance of World Bank. 
  • Objective:
    • To strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory based IT enabled disease surveillance system for epidemic prone diseases to monitor disease trends 
    • To detect and respond to outbreaks in early rising phase through trained Rapid Response Team (RRTs)
  • Programme Components
    • Integration and decentralization of surveillance activities through establishment of surveillance units at Centre, State and District level.
    • Human Resource Development – Training of State and District Surveillance Officers, Rapid Response Team and other Medical & Paramedical staff on principles of disease surveillance.
    • Use of ICT for collection, collation, compilation, analysis and dissemination of data.
    • Strengthening of public health laboratories.
    • Inter sectoral Co-ordination for zoonotic diseases

Huntington disease

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Health

  • Huntington disease (HD) is a progressive genetic disorder affecting the brain 
  • It causes uncontrolled movements, impaired coordination of balance and movement, a decline in cognitive abilities, difficulty in concentrating and memory lapses, mood swings and personality changes

How is the disease caused?

  • A gene called HTT are involved in the production of a protein called huntingtin.
  • When these genes mutate, they provide faulty instructions leading to production of abnormal huntingtin proteins and these form into clumps. 
  • The clumps disrupt the normal functioning of the brain cells, which eventually leads to death of neurons in the brain, resulting in Huntington disease.

Mahatma Gandhi Bunkar Bima Yojana (MGBBY) 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance

  • The scheme aims at providing social security benefits like life, accidental & disability insurance coverage to handloom weavers/workers.
  • Age group: 51-59 years 
  • Coverage: Across the country
  • Implementing Body: Ministry of Textiles
  • The claim benefits are provided by LIC directly into the bank account of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

Tech for Tribal

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II-Governance

  • It is an initiative of TRIFED supported by Ministry of MSME
  • The project aims at capacity building and imparting entrepreneurship skills to tribal forest produce gatherers enrolled under the Pradhan Mantri VanDhan Yojana(PMVDY). 
  • The trainees will undergo a 30 days program over six weeks comprising 120 sessions.
  • Partnering Institutions: IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Roorkee, IIM Indore, Kalinga Institute of Social Science, Bhubaneshwar and SRIJAN, Jaipur

Prelims Value Addition

About Pradhan Mantri VanDhan Yojana(PMVDY). 

  • It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED, launched in 2018, to improve tribal incomes through the value addition of tribal products.
  • It is a Market Linked Tribal Entrepreneurship Development Program for forming clusters of tribal Self-Help-Groups (SHGs) and strengthening them into Tribal Producer Companies
  • It aims to set-up tribal community owned Minor Forest Produce (MFP)-centric multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras.
  • The Kendras would act as common facility centres for procurement cum value addition to locally available MFPs
  • One typical Van Dhan Vikas Kendra comprises of 15 Self Help Groups, each consisting of 20 Tribal gatherers. 
  • These SHGs will get training on sustainable harvesting/collection, primary processing & value addition and also provided with working capital to conduct their business.

Colour Coded Weather Warning

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I- Geography

  • In News: The Met department issued a fresh yellow weather warning for heavy rain and snowfall accompanied by thunderstorm and lightning in Himachal Pradesh 
  • Colour-coded warnings are issued by Indian Meteorological Department (IMD
  • Parent Ministry: Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • Objective: To alert people ahead of severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to cause damage, widespread disruption or danger to life.
  • IMD uses four colour codes to indicate various categories of alerts
    • Green (All is well): No action is required and No advisory is issued.
    • Yellow (Be Aware): It indicates severely bad weather panning across several days. It also suggests that the weather could change for the worse, causing disruption in day-to-day activities.
    • Orange / Amber (Be prepared): It is issued as a warning of extremely bad weather with the potential of disruption in commute with road and rail closures, and interruption of power supply. 
    • The sounding of the orange alert is a sign for people to prepare for evacuation, keep food packets ready and protect themselves and their family from bad weather.
    • Red (Take Action): When the extremely bad weather conditions are certainly going to disrupt travel and power, and has significant risk to life, the red alert is issued. In this case, people must take all measures to protect their families and follow the instructions of local authorities and disaster-response teams

Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Federalism

  • In News: Assam State Election Commissioner has deferred the elections to the 40-seat BTC in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About BTC

  • BTC is an autonomous district council under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
  • It was formed as a result of the second Bodo accord, 2003 
  • 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.

Prelims Value Addition

  • 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
  • Governor is the constitutional head of areas under the Sixth Schedule.

Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) Laws Amendment Bill 2020

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Education & Governance

  • The Bill seeks to declare five IIITs set up under the PPP mode in Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur as institutions of national importance.
  • The bill proposes to bring the above five institutes under the IIIT (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017, similar to the other 15 IIITs established under the scheme through public-private partnership
  • Currently, these institutes are registered as Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and do not have the power to grant degrees or diplomas.
  • On being declared institutions of national importance, the five institutes will be granted the power to grant degrees and use the nomenclature B.Tech or M.Tech or Ph.D degrees. 
  • Funding: The central government will contribute 50% towards the expenses of institutes functioning under the PPP mode. 35% will be borne by the states and 15% by the industries

G7

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- International Affairs

  • In News: US is scrapping 2020’s G7 summit at Camp David near Washington due to the COVID-19 crisis and will instead hold the event by videoconference.
  • The Group of Seven (G7) is a forum of the world’s seven largest developed economies whose government leaders meet annually to discuss international economic and monetary issues.
  • G7 countries are— Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States
  • The G-7 has its roots in an informal meeting of the finance ministers of France, West Germany, the U.S, Great Britain, and Japan (the Group of Five) in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. 
  • In 2019, the 45th G7 summit was hosted by France
  • As of 2018, the seven countries involved represent 58% of the global net wealth ($317 trillion) and more than 46% of the global GDP based on nominal values

India VIX index

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III-Economy

  • In News: The India VIX index, a barometer for volatility, fell a little over 7%
    • Volatility is often described as the “rate and magnitude of changes in prices” and in finance often referred to as risk.
    • Volatility Index is a measure, of the amount by which an underlying Index is expected to fluctuate, in the near term.
  • India VIX is the short name for the India Volatility Index, an index disseminated by the NSE (National Stock Exchange)
  • It measures the degree of volatility or fluctuation that active traders expect in the Nifty50 over the next 30 days

Miscellaneous 

World Happiness Report

  • In News: For the third year in a row, Finland (score of 7.8) has placed at the top of the list, with Denmark coming in second, followed by Switzerland
  • It is an annual survey (originally launched in 2012) by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
  • It looks at the state of global happiness in 156 countries, ranking countries based on six factors: levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and corruption income.
  • India has been ranked 144th with a score of 3.573(Pakistan, on the other hand, has been ranked 66 with a score of 5.693 )

(MAINS FOCUS)


Indian Governance

Topic: General Studies 2:

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

Capital Punishment

Context: Four convicts in Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case were hanged to death at Tihar jail in Delhi.

The last death sentence executed by the justice system in India was the 30 July 2015 hanging of terrorist Yakub Memon, who was convicted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.

In 2012, the government, post Nirbhaya incident, set up the Justice J.S. Verma Committee to look into rape laws.

  • The report led to stringent changes through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
FINAL DNA- 21 MARCH 2020

FINAL DNA- 21 MARCH 2020

Pic Source

  • On the imposition of the death penalty, the government went against what the Verma report had suggested — that seeking such a punishment “would be a regressive step in the field of sentencing and reformation”.
  • However, several recommendations were simply not considered, some of which are
    • Those Charged with Sexual Crimes cannot contest Polls
    • Make Marital Rape an offence
    • Bring Sexual Crimes by armed Forces under Criminal Law

Now, repeat offenders in rape cases can be awarded the death sentence. 

However, there has not been significant improvement over safety & security of women

  • As per NCRB data a total of 3.78 lakh cases of crimes against women were recorded across India in 2018 compared to 3.59 lakh in 2017 and 3.38 lakh in 2016. 
  • The total number of rape cases in 2018 was pegged at 33,356, of which Madhya Pradesh registered 5,450 rapes, the maximum in 2018. 
  • The crime rate per one lakh women population was 58.8 in 2018 compared to 57.9 in 2017. At the end of 2018, 33.6% cases were pending police investigation.

It is in this light that, Criminologists and Socialists have for long been demanding abolition of the death penalty on the grounds that it is inhumane and out of the purview of Social Contract.

Arguments in Favour of Death Penalty:

  • Deterrent effect: By executing convicted criminals, we would be able to deter would-be-criminals from committing heinous crimes in future.
  • Retribution: One of the key principles of retribution is that people should get what they deserve in proportion to the severity of their crime. Thus death penalty needs to awarded to those who commit severe crimes
  • Closure for Victim’s family: Death penalty is said to provide emotional closure for victims of crimes

Arguments against the Death Penalty

  • No Strong evidence to show that death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime.
  • Death has been prescribed as a punishment for murder since 1860 (the year IPC was drafted), still, murders continue unabated. 
  • Death has been prescribed in rape cases since 2013 (376A), still, rapes continue to happen and in fact, the brutality of rapes has increased manifold.
  • Execution of the Innocent: The most common argument against capital punishment is that sooner or later, innocent people may get killed, because of mistakes or flaws in the justice system.
  • Moral grounds: Human rights activists argue that death penalty is sanitised form of vengeance and takes away the scope of reform/rehabilitate in criminals
  • Natural Rights: State is an institution created by Man whose primary purpose is to protect life. It is not within the purview of State to take away life which is given by God/Nature.

Supreme Court on Death Penalty

  • Jagmohan Singh v. State of UP 1973 case: According to Article 21 deprivation of life is constitutionally permissible if that is done according to the procedure established by law.
    • Rajendra Prasad v. State of UP 1979 case: If the murderous operation of a die-hard criminal jeopardizes social security in a persistent, planned and perilous fashion then his enjoyment of fundamental rights may be rightly annihilated. 
    • Bachan Singh v. the State of Punjab 1980 case: Death penalty is not to be awarded except in the ‘rarest of rare cases’ when the alternative option is unquestionably foreclosed.
  • Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab 1983 case: The Supreme Court laid down certain considerations for determining whether a case falls under the category of rarest of rare cases or not.

Conclusion

  • Deterrence is most effective when the punishment happens soon after the crime. The more the legal process distances the punishment from the crime – either in time, or certainty – the less effective a deterrent the punishment will probably be.
  • It’s not the severity, but the certainty of punishment which can act as a deterrent.

Connecting the dots:

  • 35th Law Commission report on Death Penalty
  • Capital Punishment in other countries

Indian Polity

Topic: General Studies 3:

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

COVID-19: Blunting the economic impact of a pandemic

Context: Prime Minister Modi constituted the task force under Finance Minister to assess the economic impact of the pandemic and suggest palliative measures.

The following are some suggestions for the task force 

  1. Cash transfers
  • Casual Job workers like construction workers, cab drivers, restaurant waiters, mall workers, domestic help, itinerant retailers are either already without jobs & incomes or will soon find themselves in that position.
  • Cash transfers of a fixed amount to these vulnerable sections would be useful.
  • There are 33 crore accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana that can be leveraged for this purpose. 
  • There is also an efficient Public Distribution System prevalent in most States through which the beneficiaries can be identified for a cash handout.
  • Cost Estimation: A transfer of ₹1,000 to a total of 23.53 crore ration card holders will cost the Centre over ₹23,500 crore
  • Hong Kong announced a cash handout of HK$10,000 to every permanent resident as a supportive measure. 
  • The United States is also weighing the option of a cash handout totalling $250 billion to its citizens.
  1. Loan guarantee
  • Service industries such as airlines, hotels and restaurants and tourism have begun to feel the impact of COVID-19 and in course of time it will extend to the manufacturing sector as well.
  • There will be revenue and profit issues to deal with later but the immediate crisis is one of cash flows.
  • Banks are also not going to offer any accommodation to these businesses given their own issues with NPAs. 
  • This is where the government can offer loan guarantees to affected businesses.
  • For a start, government can provide guarantees to working capital loans and link it with assurances from the borrowers concerned that they will secure the jobs in their companies.
  • Britain has pledged £330 billion of government-backed loans and guarantees, France and Spain have announced €300 billion and €100 billion aid, respectively.
  1. Mortgage holiday
  • An equated monthly instalment (EMI) holiday can be a huge blessing for individuals and businesses when faced with a job loss, salary cut or loss of revenue. 
  • A three-month mortgage holiday should be coaxed out of lenders by the government for businesses in obvious trouble and to those employed by such businesses.
  • RBI should show regulatory forbearance in the matter of asset recognition for banks when it comes to these industries. 

There are other helpful actions that the government can take such as 

  • Promptly discharging its bills
  • Refunding taxes without delay
  • Promptly carrying out direct benefit transfers already budgeted for
  • If necessary, even permitting affected businesses to temporarily delay payment of statutory dues such as provident fund and ESI.

How to finance?

  • Cooperative Federalism: The resources of the Centre and the States have to be pooled to develop a national response to economic challenge posed by COVID-19 pandemic
  • Kerala, for example, has already announced a ₹20,000 crore package and other States may follow suit
  • Leverage Private Expertise: The government will have to engage with the private sector while devising assistance measures.
  • Bonds: A well-structured, tax-efficient bond issue can be an option to tap into the large pool of domestic savings. The large Indian diaspora can also be tapped into.

Conclusion

The government needs to come up with financial action plan involving all stakeholders (States & private sector) so as to tide over the crisis caused by the pandemic

Did You Know?

  • Resurgent India Bonds of 1998 post-Pokhran – SBI raised about $4 billion from NRIs against all odds to help India tide over the immediate impact of sanctions

(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 Sixth Schedule

  1. It contains provisions as to the Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram
  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 2. Which of the following countries are a part of G7 grouping?

  1. USA
  2. China
  3. Italy
  4. India

Select the correct answer from the codes given below

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

Q 3. Consider the following statements about TRIFED

  1. It is a statutory body established by TRIFED Act of 1987
  2. The objective of TRIFED is to empower tribal people with necessary knowledge & tools which helps increase their income.

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 Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojaya

  1. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED
  2. It is a Market Linked Tribal Entrepreneurship Development Program for forming clusters of tribal Self-Help-Groups (SHGs) and strengthening them into Tribal Producer Companies

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. Consider the following statements about Colour Coded Weather Warning System

  1. It is released weekly by ISRO in collaboration with Ministry of Science & Technology
  2. Its Objective is to alert people ahead of severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to cause damage, widespread disruption or danger to life

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

ANSWERS FOR 20 March 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 C
4 B
5 C

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