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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th March 2020

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  • March 26, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th March 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Significance of 21-day lockdown period

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance; Health; GS III – Disaster Management; Science and Technology

In News: 

  • Indian Prime Minister recently announced 21-day lockdown period in the entire country to contain the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Key Takeaways:

  • 21­day quarantine was encouraged extensively during Ebola crisis as well.
  • The calculations are based on the estimated incubation period of the virus in the human host. 
  • Usually, incubation period for any infection is 14 days epidemiologically.
  • Another week is added to ensure that the infection dies out and the host is entirely safe.
  • Since, this is a novel corona virus, the scientists have estimated the time between entry of virus to the onset of infection, falls within this period, known as median incubation period.
  • It was also recently reported that the median incubation period for COVID­19 is just over five days.
  • 97.5% of people who develop symptoms do so within 11.5 days of infection. 
  • This is the most effective way of preventing the spread of infection.
  • Maintaining personal hygiene and practising personal distancing are other ways of prevention.

Important value additions:

Ebola 

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD) is also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever.
  • It is viral haemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebolaviruses. 
  • The virus causes severe bleeding, organ failure and can lead to death.
  • Humans may spread the virus to other humans through contact with bodily fluids such as blood.

Quarantine 

  • Quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pests.

Preventive Detention, PSA and NSA

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Polity 

In News: 

  • Public Safety Act and National Security Act were in news because of recent detentions that took place after abrogation of Article 370 and also due to NCR and Anti-CAA protests.
  • Besides, recently former J&K CM Omar Abdulla was released after revocation of his detention.
  • So it is important to understand the concept of Preventive detention and FRs as well.

Important value additions:

Preventive Detention

  • It is the imprisonment of a person with the aim of preventing him from committing further offences or of maintaining public order.
  • Article 22 (3) – If a person is arrested or detained under preventive detention, then the protection against arrest and detention under Article 22 (1) and 22(2) shall not be available.
  • A detainee under preventive detention can have no right of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 19 or Article 21. 
  • To prevent reckless use of Preventive Detention, certain safe guards are provided in the constitution:
  • A person may be taken to preventive custody only for 3 months at the first instance. 
  • The detainee is entitled to know the grounds of his detention.
  • The detaining authorities must give the detainee earliest opportunities for making representation against the detention. 

Public Safety Act (PSA)

  • The Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 is a preventive detention law.
  • A person is taken into custody to prevent him/her from acting in a manner that is a threat to the security of J&K.
  • It is very similar to the National Security Act.
  • It allows for detention of a person without a formal charge.
  • Detention can be up to two years.
  • Detained person need not be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of the detention. 
  • The detained person does not have the right to move a bail application before a criminal court.
  • He/she cannot engage any lawyer also.
  • Only The High Court and the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to hear habeus corpus petitions against the detention.

National Security Act

  • The purpose of The National Security Act of 1980 is to make provisions for preventive detention in certain cases and for related matters.
  • The act extends to the whole of India
  • The act empowers the Central Government and State Governments to detain a person to prevent him/her from acting in any manner prejudicial:
    • to the security of India, 
    • to the relations of India with foreign countries, 
    • to the maintenance of public order, 
    • to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do. 
  • The act also gives power to the governments to detain a foreigner in a view to regulate his presence or expel from the country. 
  • The maximum period of detention is 12 months.

Addendum to the Guidelines regarding Nationwide Lockdown issued

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Governance; GS III – Disaster Management

In News: 

  • Addendum to the guidelines regarding Nationwide lockdown was issued recently by Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • This addendum lays down additional categories of essential goods and services exempted under the Disaster Management Act, with respect to the 21- day lockdown.

Important value additions:

Disaster Management Act 

  • The Disaster Management Act, 2005 provides for the legal and institutional framework for disaster management in India at the national, state and district levels.
  • The primary responsibility of Disaster Management vests with the state government.
  • The central government lays down the plans, policies and guidelines and provides support.
  • Recently, the Home Ministry declared the coronavirus outbreak as a “notified disaster”, thus bringing into play the provisions of the Disaster Management Act.
  • The Act allows the National Executive Committee to give directions to governments regarding measures to be taken by them.
  • The Disaster Management Act is also being used to rein in the circulation of fake news.
  • The Act is being used in tandem with the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Recapitalisation plan for regional rural banks approved

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In News: 

  • The Centre has approved Rs.1.304 crore recapitalisation plan for regional rural banks.

Key takeaways:

  • It is done to improve their capital-to-risk weighted assests ratio (CRAR).
  • These institutions that play major role in provision of credit in rural areas shall be strengthened.

Important value additions:

Regional Rural Banks.

  • Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) are Indian Scheduled Commercial Banks (Government Banks) 
  • They operate at regional level in different states of India. 
  • They have been created with a view to serve primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.

Capital-to-Risk weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR)

  • The CRAR is the capital needed for a bank measured in terms of the assets (mostly loans) disbursed by the banks. 
  • Higher the assets, higher should be the capital by the bank.

Mass nesting of Olive Ridleys

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Conservation

In News: 

  • Vulnerable Olive Ridley sea turtles have returned to Odisha’s Rushikulya river in lakhs for mass nesting.

Key takeaways:

  • The animals had skipped Rushikulya in 2019 which became a cause of concern for turtle researchers.
  • Tourists have been barred from visiting Rushikulya due to the countrywide lockdown in place since March 24.
  • Thousands of turtles also laid eggs at Gahiramatha marine sanctuary recently.

Important value additions:

Olive Ridley

  • The Olive Ridley sea turtle is the most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
  • It is found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  • It is best known for their unique mass nesting called arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable.

Marine Turtles

  • Five species of sea turtles are known to inhabit Indian coastal waters and islands.
  • Olive Ridley turtle 
  • Green turtle
  • Hawksbill turtle
  • Loggerhead turtle
  • Leatherback turtle
  • Except the Loggerhead, the remaining four species nest along the Indian coast.

Olive Ridley turtle

Mass nesting of Olive Ridleys

Mass nesting of Olive Ridleys

Image Source: Click here


(MAINS FOCUS)


GOVERNANCE/ HEALTH ISSUE

Topic: General Studies 2:

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

Drug Security: COVID-19’ s impact on API Industry

Do you know?

  • All drugs are made up of two core components: API & Excipients
  • Indian pharmaceutical industry is the 3rd largest in the world by volume but is largely dependent on China
  • India imports 80% of the APIs used for drug manufacturing from China

What is Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)? 

  • Part of any drug that produces its effects. 
  • Intended to furnish pharmacological activity or other direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease

What are Excipients?

  • Substances other than the drug that helps deliver the medication to your system. 
  • Excipients are chemically inactive substances, such as lactose or mineral oil. 
  • Example: for headache, acetaminophen is the API, while the liquid in the gel-capsule or the bulk of a pill is the excipient. 

Why India is poor in APIs?

  • Weak Domestic Manufacturing sector
  • Inadequate government support
  • Lack of Central-State cooperation in effective policy making

Impact on COVID-19 on India’s API sector

  • Hostage to Supply Side disruption due to high dependence on China on APIs thus endangering the drug security in India
  • Price Rise of pharmaceutical drugs
  • Impacts the affordable healthcare services
  • Disproportionately impacts the poor 

Measures taken by the government (on 21st March 2020) 

  1. Production Linked Incentive Scheme 
  • Objective: To encourage domestic manufacture of key starting materials (raw material used in manufacture of APIs), drug intermediates, and APIs.
  • Financial incentive will be given to eligible manufacturers of identified 53 critical bulk drugs on their incremental sales over the base year (2019-20) for a period of 6 years.
  • A sum of Rs. 6,940 crore has been approved for this scheme
  1. Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks
  • 3 mega Bulk Drug parks will be developed in India in partnership with States.
  • Parks will have common facilities such as solvent recovery plant, distillation plant, power & steam units, common effluent treatment plant etc.
  • A sum of Rs. 3,000 crore has been approved for this scheme for next 5 years.

Impact of the above two initiatives:

  • Reduces manufacturing cost of bulk drugs in the country 
  • Reduces dependency on other countries for bulk drugs
  • Attracts private sector and foreign investment into the sector
  • Creates additional employment

Challenges ahead

  • Issues with Government’s price-capping policy – so less private player participation
  • Drug makers are forced to cut costs to maximise profits – favour cheap Chinese APIs with basic minimum quality, Indian made APIs
  • Also capping prices doesn’t really succeed (study from different countries)
  • Drug price control Order (DPCO) needs reforms and amendments

Connecting the dots


INTERNATIONAL/ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

COVID-19: Possibility of Biggest Depression

World had witnessed two great depressions- The Great Depression (GD) of 1930s and 2008 global financial crisis (GFC). There is high possibility that COVID-19 could cause the history’s biggest economic depression given the number of people and economies it has affected

What is depression?

  • It is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies

Impact of the previous two depressions – GFC & GD of 1930s 

  • Stock markets collapsed by 50% or more
  • Credit markets froze up
  • Massive bankruptcies of firms followed
  • Unemployment rates soared above 10%
  • GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 10% or more

How COVID-19 induced depression can be different from previous depression?

  • The above mentioned macroeconomic and financial outcomes of depression took around three years to play out for 2008-GFC & 1930-GD
  • In the current COVID-19 crisis, similar outcomes have materialized in three weeks- thus exacerbating the possibility of Depression.
  • COVID induced depression is more severe & faster.

Measures needed by countries

  1. Containing the epidemic
  • All countries need to roll out widespread Covid-19 testing, tracing and treatment measures, enforce quarantines, and a full-scale lockdown (China model)
  • Antivirals and other therapeutics need to be deployed on a massive scale as it could take 18 months for a vaccine to be developed and produced at global scale
  1. Easy Monetary Policy by Central Banks
  • Zero or negative interest rates
  • Quantitative easing –large-scale asset purchases by Central Bank to induce liquidity into system
  • Credit easing to banks, non-banks, money market funds, and even large corporations.
  1. Massive Fiscal Stimulus
  • Direct cash disbursements to households
  • Monetizing the increased fiscal deficits – so that interest rates are kept low

Challenges

  • Monetization of massive deficits starts can lead to high inflation. 
  • Geopolitical white swans that could derail recovery of global economy
    • The crisis can give way to renewed conflicts between the West and at least four revisionist powers: China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
    • The possibility of cyber attacks on the US election process may lead to a contested final result which will have a spill over effect on International Institutions (causes disorder & chaos)
    • Risk of a war between the US and Iran

Conclusion

The trifecta of risks—uncontained pandemics, insufficient economic policy arsenals, and geopolitical white swans—will be enough to tip the global economy into persistent depression and a runaway financial-market meltdown. Thus, above measures needs to be taken.

Connecting the dots:

  • Difference between Earlier depression and Depression that can be caused by COVID-19
  • How should world countries work together after COVID-19 to bring back the economy
  • Keynesian Economics

(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:

  1. The time between entry of virus to the onset of infection is known as Median incubation period.
  2. Median incubation period for COVID-19 is five days.

Which of the 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:

  1. Under preventive detention, protection against arrest and detention under Article 22 (1) and 22(2) shall be available.
  2. Detention can be upto 3 years under Public Safety Act.

Which of the 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. #stayhomeindiawithbooks initiative was launched recently by Human Resource Development Ministry.
  2. The books are available for download only in Hindi and English.

Which of the 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:

  1. Disaster management is the prime responsibility of state government.
  2. Recently coronavirus pandemic was notified as a disaster.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 25th March 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 D
3 D
4 B

Must Read

About Indian Health Diplomacy:

The Indian Express

About COVID-19 and data puzzle of China:

The Hindu

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