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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 23rd April 2020

  • IASbaba
  • April 23, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 23rd April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Violence against health-care workers made punishable offence

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health; Governance 

In News:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation (put into effect) of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in the light of COVID-19 pandemic situation. 

Key takeaways:

  • The ordinance makes acts of violence against the healthcare workers as cognizable and non-bailable offences.
  • Under it , there is also a provision to provide compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property.
  • The investigation into the cases of attack will be completed within 30 days and judgment will be pronounced within one year. 
  • Accused of the attack can attract a punishment ranging from 3 months to 5 years and a fine from 50 thousand rupees to  2 lakh rupees. 
  • A compensation amounting to twice the market value of the damaged property will be taken from the accused if damage is done to the vehicles or clinics. 

Important value additions:

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

  • This law enables states to ban public gatherings, ask schools and large institutions to stop functioning, and issue advisories to companies to explore work-from-home models.  
  • It also gives the state a right to penalise media organisations spreading misinformation. 
  • For background and features, click here.

Investments for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ approved

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health

In News:

  • Union Cabinet has given its post facto approval for significant investments of around Rs.15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’.

Key takeaways:

  • The funds sanctioned will be utilized in 3 Phases. 
  • For immediate COVID-19 Emergency Response, an amount of Rs. 7,774 Crore, has been provisioned. 
  • Rest of the amount will be provided under mission mode approach for medium-term support (1-4 years). 

Important value additions:

‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’

  • The key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit COVID-19 in India through:
    • the development of diagnostics and COV1D-dedicated treatment facilities,
    • centralized procurement of essential medical equipments and drugs required for treatment of infected patients,
    • strengthen and build effective National and State health systems to support prevention and preparedness for future disease outbreaks,
  • The package is launched under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Human activities responsible for zoonoses 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health

In News:

  • According to experts, the coronavirus outbreak comes from the animal world. 
  • It is human activity that enabled the virus to jump to people.
  • The specialists are also warning that if human activities continue at this pace, the world will suffer from many other pandemics of similar nature in the future. 

Important value additions:

Zoonoses

  • Zoonoses is the name given to diseases transmitted from animals to humans
  • They are not new. 
  • Tuberculosis, rabies, toxoplasmosis, malaria, etc., are all zoonoses.
  • According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), 60% of human infectious diseases originate from animals.
  • Also, 75% of emerging diseases such as Ebola, HIV, avian flu, Zika, or SARS originate from animals. 
  • The emergence of such diseases is often associated with environmental changes or ecological disturbances, such as increase in human settlement, encroachments into forests and other habitats, etc. 

Miscellaneous 

Feluda 

  • Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research — Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) have developed a low-cost, paper-strip test which can detect the new coronavirus within an hour.
  • The test is as named Feluda. 
  • It is named after a fictional detective character created by Satyajit Ray. 
  • It is expected to cost around Rs 500 against the RT-PCR test that costs Rs 4,500 in private labs.
  • The test is based on a bacterial immune system protein called Cas9
  • It uses cutting-edge gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas9 system. 
  • The technology is not limited to COVID-19 and can work on any DNA-RNA or single mutations, disease mutations etc.

(MAINS FOCUS)


ECONOMY/GOVERNANCE/WELFARE

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Developmental Strategy: The village is still relevant

Context: The COVID-19 crisis should inspire society & governments to review past developmental policies particularly regarding the rural areas

How did the developmental discourse change after 1990s?

  • Changed role: Government was considered as facilitator in the free-market economy where private sector was considered as growth engine. As a result, state’s own infrastructure shrank
  • Impact on Public goods: Health and education was opened up for private enterprise which was considered as part of the bigger package of economic reforms.
  • Impact on Public employment: Several States decided to stop giving permanent appointment letters to doctors and teachers in the mid-1990s.
  • Lack of safety nets: Working on short-term contracts, with little security or dignity, became common

How did the changed developmental discourse (after 1990s) impact villages?

  • Villages were no more considered viable as sites of public investment
  • Providing basic amenities such as running water, electricity and jobs to rural people was considered easier if they moved to a city
  • Hence, emigration from rural areas to cities was both justified and encouraged
  • Rural-to-urban emigration was considered natural that happens in the course of economic development
  • The village was considered as having no future other than becoming a copy of the urban and eventually dissolving into it.
  • This resulted in overall shrinking of rural livelihoods 

Consequences on Urban-oriented developmental strategy

  • It led to discriminatory funding in every sphere, including health and education leading to increased inequality between rural & urban areas
  • Reduced quality of life in villages as the availability of qualified doctors and teachers willing to work in villages reduced drastically
  • Growth of vast slums in mega-cities was considered as normal & inevitable
  • Loss of HR in villages: Emigration led to depletion of working-age people in villages. 
  • Agriculture, the main resource of livelihood in villages, was declared as no longer profitable enough to attract the young which led to its stagnation
  • Decline of village handicrafts: It was argued that handicrafts were destined to die as it was believed that craftsmen and women cannot survive without state support
  • Loss of Gram Swaraj: Stuck between state minimalism and commercial entrepreneurship, villages lost the capacity they had for regenerating their economy or intellectual resources.

Impact of Pandemic

  • The new urban architecture denied the rural migrants their visibility. This lead to their issues being overlooked by administration while declaring the lockdown
  • Cities could not offer protection to rural emigrants against such exigencies which lead to their mass migration often by foot
  • It exposed the weakness of City driven developmental model.
  • The crisis has demonstrated the unsustainable socio-economic arrangement of the post-1991 developmental model.

Way Ahead

  • Decentralised developmental strategy
  • Regenerating rural economic capabilities
  • Agriculture to be given prominence in policy making ( Ex: separate Agricultural budget)
  • Skilling of rural people

Conclusion

As the pandemic crisis shows, villages have a right to flourish as habitations with their own distinctive future

Connecting the dots:

  • Gandhian Gram Swarajya Model
  • Philosophy behind 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendment Act

POLITY/JUDICIARY

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Judiciary: Pre-retirement judgments and post-retirement jobs

Context:  Post-retirement, former CJI Ranjan Gogoi was nominated to the Rajya Sabha

Independence of the Judiciary is ensured by constitutional provisions like

  • Judges do not hold their offices at the “pleasure” of the President
  • They can only be impeached by a special majority of both houses (Article 124(4)) of Parliament 
  • Article 121 and 211 provides that there shall be no discussion in the legislature of the state with respect to the conduct of any judge of Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties
  • The salaries and allowances of the judges are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India in case of Supreme Court judges
  • Parliament can only add to the powers and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court but cannot curtail them
  • Both the Supreme Court and the High Court have the power to punish any person for their contempt (Article 129 and 215)

Why Former CJI Gogoi’s RS nomination caused controversy?

  • He had presided over politically sensitive cases (Assam NRC, Sabarimala, Ayodhya, Rafale, CBI) where all the decisions went in favour of the government. 
  • This gave rise to the impression that his nomination was a reward for these ‘favours’. 

Consequences of such appointments

  • The very fact that a judge accepts such an appointment could cast doubt on his judgements. 
  • The desire of a post-retirement job can influence pre-retirement judgments. 
  • It would signal that the judiciary is not independent, but is vulnerable to dictates of the executive
  • It will undermine the very constitutional values of impartiality in the dispensation of justice. 
  • It will also go against the clear demarcation of separation of powers
  • Deteriorates the Public Perception about the integrity of the Judiciary and thus the functioning of our Democracy 

Is it wrong for former CJI to accept RS nomination?

  • No, as Article 124(7) of the Indian Constitution restricts post-retirement appointments in Judiciary itself, but not in posts of president, governor, member of parliament, etc 
  • Former CJI Gogoi has viewed that membership of the Rajya Sabha was not a job but a service and hence there accepting RS nomination is nott ethically conflicting
  • With regard to judgements, former CJI has said that he did not deliver the judgements alone and that there were other judges also. Hence, there cannot be quid-pro-quo arrangements 

A possible Solution

  • In constitutional democracy, it is time to have a law in place either by way of a constitutional amendment or a parliamentary enactment barring/regulating post-retirement appointments of Judges.
  • Judges can be compensated by being given their last drawn salary as pension. 
  • Also, the age of retirement for judges can be increased by a year or two. 
  • These will undo the damage caused by post-retirement jobs

Connecting the dots:

  • Exploring the possibilities of cooling-off period before making such appointments
  • Post-retirement prohibitions on Election Commissioners

(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 regarding Ordinance to amend Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897:

  1. The acts of violence against Healthcare workers have been made bailable offence.
  2. The compensation for the damage to the vehicles of the Healthcare workers shall be made by the state government

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 ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’ has been launched under which of the following ministry?

  1. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 
  2. Ministry of Defence 
  3. Ministry of Agriculture 
  4. Ministry of Science and Technology

Q.3 Which of the following diseases can be regarded as zoonoses? 

  1. HIV 
  2. Malaria 
  3. Avian flu 
  4. Typhoid 

Select the correct code:

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

Q.4 Consider the following statements regarding the test Feluda:

  1. It uses cutting-edge gene editing tool Crispr-Cas9 system.
  2. The test is limited only to covid 19 disease.

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 22nd April 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B
3 B
4 A

Must Read

About economic trajectory post COVID-19 crisis:

The Indian Express

About Coronavirus and Social Prejudice:

The Hindu

About Trump’s immigration Policy:

The Hindu

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