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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2020

  • IASbaba
  • April 8, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


India lifts ban on export of hydroxychloroquine

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health 

In News:

  • Indian government has ended its earlier ban on exporting of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

Key takeaways:

  • India would licence paracetamol and HCQ in appropriate quantities to all the neighbouring countries which are dependent on India’s capabilities
  • These essential drugs shall also be supplied to nations which are badly affected by the pandemic. 
  • Previously HCQ was placed on a restricted items list, and its export was completely banned in the first week of April.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump had warned India of retaliation from U.S. if it withheld supplies of HCQ. 

Important value additions:

Hydroxychloroquine

  • It is an anti-malarial drug.
  • It is now being used by many countries as a possible line of treatment for COVID-19.
  • It works by diminishing immune system’s response to viral infections. 
  • These dosages are also linked to instances of cardiac arrhythmia (Improper beating of the heart) and liver damage. 
  • A study in France showed that hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with Azithromycin appeared to reduce virus levels quicker. 

Why Hydroxychloroquine was completely banned?

  • India imports Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) from China for the manufacture of drugs at cheaper costs.
  • The supply of APIs got affected due to COVID-19 outbreak in China.
  • To ensure that India’s doesn’t fall short of supply for its own citizens, the drug was banned from exporting.

For further information, refer to this link: Drug Secutity


nCoVSENSEs: Rapid Test device by Pune based Startup 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health 

In News:

  • Module innovations, a Pune based healthcare start up, is developing a testing kit device to detect COVID-19.
  • The project is funded by Department of Science and Technology. 

Key takeaways:

  • The kit is named nCoVSENSEs 
  • It is a rapid test device, it can detect COVID-19 in 10-15mins
  • It detects the antibodies that have been formed against COVID-19 in the human body 
  • Antibodies (IgG and IgM) are formed against any infection in the human body.
  • The device is more efficient and less costly. 
  • The test is also targeted against the Spike proteins making it specific for COVID 19.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2020

Magnified image of coronavirus

Image source: Click here 


Telecom Disputes Settlement and  Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) : Tenure of chairperson extended 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II & GS – III – Governance and Economy and related issues

In News:

  • The Supreme Court has extended the tenure of chairperson of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) by three months 
  • The tenure was supposed to end by this month.

Important value additions:

  • Mandate: To adjudicate disputes and dispose of appeals with a view to protect the interests of service providers and consumers of the telecom sector.
  • Created under: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
  • The headquarter is in New Delhi.
  • It was established in 2000. 
  • The TDSAT consists of a Chairperson and two Members

Third mass bleaching of Great Barrier Reef recorded 

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

In News:

  • Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has suffered its most widespread coral bleaching on record.
  • Record sea temperatures caused the third mass bleaching of the 2,300-kilometre reef system in just five years.

Key takeaways:

  • For the first time, severe bleaching has struck all three regions of the Great Barrier Reef — the northern, central and now large parts of the southern sectors.
  • The damage came as February brought the highest monthly sea temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef since Australia began keeping records in 1900. 

Important value additions:

Bleaching 

  • Bleaching occurs when healthy corals become stressed by changes in ocean temperatures, causing them to expel algae living in their tissues which drains them of their vibrant colours.
  • Bleaching was first seen on the reef in 1998 — at the time, the hottest year on record — but as temperature records continue to tumble its frequency has increased, giving coral less time to recover. 
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th April 2020

Image source: Click here 

Miscellaneous 

World Health Day

  • The World health day 2020 was celebrated recently with the theme of supporting nurses and midwives.
  • The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • WHO chose the year 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” because of the contribution made by nurses and midwives in making the world a healthier place. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2:

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

COVID-19: Government should unveil larger stimulus package

Indian Union government had announced the financial package of 1.7 lakh crores. However, there were criticism that the relief measures were repackaging of existing schemes and largely insufficient.

Also, the present investment regime in India is ineffective in dealing with economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis

Do You Know?

  • The US announced a $2.2 trillion stimulus on a $20 trillion GDP base
  • Malaysia has mobilised close to 18% of its GDP
  • Japan has announced nearly $1 trillion stimulus package

What is the present investment regime in Indian economy? 

  • Due to previous policies the entire structure has been made pro-foreign investor
  • Rather than to incentivise new capital building by resident entrepreneurs it makes it difficult to proceed 

Three examples which reflect this are:

  • The 2020 finance bill amendment (DDT related change) has resulted in the following scenario of effective tax rates to entrepreneurs – 
    • 48.52% (for less than Rs. 15 lakh income) to 59.41% (for more than Rs 5 crore income) 
    • But for foreigners this rate is capped at 40% and, in fact, comes down to 25.17%  for a rich wealth fund
  • Infrastructure: The exceptions in section 80M results in an effective tax rate between 67.9% -71.2% – terrible for special purpose vehicles and subsidiaries created for infrastructure assets 
  • Real Estate Sector: Section 43CA states that sales of less than 10% of the circle rate price will be dealt with punitive consequences. This will constrain developers from selling their flats at a discount 

Consequences of such lopsided investment regime

  • Brain Drain: Indian entrepreneurs will start looking for greener pastures outside India due to lopsided taxation structure 
  • Slows down the creation of infrastructure assets that are critical for nation building.
  • Construction sector which was facing the issue of unsold inventory will be further burdened.
  • Economic Recovery post the crisis will be difficult

Some of the suggestions to fight COVID-19 pandemic are: 

  • Government needs to handhold economy by creating a stimulus of 10% of our GDP
  • Interest rates need to be reduced at least 200 basis points from current levels, with additional measures to ensure that banks lend. 
  • Government should ensure that all workers are paid Rs 5,000-6,000 per month by their employers during the lockdown period
  • Support to Enterprises: Those employers who support their employees need to be supported and compensated through measures like tax rebates.
  • State governments should receive their fund allocations so that they do not create a credit crunch. 
  • Stimulate spending at an individual level
    • Personal income tax rates for the  Rs 20 lakh slab & above need to be reduced
    • All GST rates need to be reduced by 50%. 
    • All cesses and surcharges need to be eliminated for individual and corporate taxes. 
    • An interest-free EMI plan needs to be created for purchase of auto, domestic holidays, domestically assembled consumer goods and real estate
  • New deal for Indian entrepreneurs 
    • Ease of starting up and accessing financial resources
    • Making the structure pro-domestic investor: The effective tax rate in the hands of residents be brought down- 48.52% tax needs to be reduced to 25% and 59.41% tax to 35%. 
    • Measures in financial bill that disincentivises Construction sector should be addressed

Source of the article: Economic Times

Connecting the dots:

  • Impact of COVID-19 crisis on foreign investment (FDI & FPI)
  • Helicopter Money

SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues 
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and State

COVID-19 and Domestic Violence

The lockdown imposed by authorities in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic has imposed stricter control on one’s mobility and put women in abusive relationships at extremely high risk of damage from physical, sexual and emotional abuse.

Do You Know?

  • 67% of the world’s healthcare workers are women and thus are naturally more prone to infection. 
  • Women are burdened with three times more unpaid care work than men, which increases during lockdown

Global scenario of Women Violence 

  • Globally, violence against women affects one in three women. 
  • Of all female murders, an overwhelming 82 per cent happen in their marital homes, and are committed by an intimate partner or a family member.

Women violence in India – findings by the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16)

  • 30% women in India in the age group of 15-49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15
  • About 31 per cent of married women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence by their spouses.
  • 6 per cent women in the age group 15-49 years have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime

Consequences of lockdown (in the wake of COVID-19) on Women Violence

  1. Increases the vulnerability to sexual violence
  • Data from west African countries in the wake of the 2014 Ebola outbreak showed that there was a steady increase in rape, sexual assault and violence against women and girls. 
  • Sexual violence increased in these regions by 40per cent over a period of one year
  1. Increases domestic violence on women:
  • In the province of Hubei in Wuhan, China, which is the heart of the first outbreak of the Coronavirus, domestic violence reports to police tripled during the February lockdown period
  • In Brazil state-run shelters are estimating 40-50 per cent rise in demands from endangered women.
  • European countries have reported 20-30 per cent increases in calls to domestic violence helplines

Impact of lockdown on domestic violence in India

  • National Commission of Women has recorded 291 complaints of domestic violence in March 
  • Closure of Counselling Centres: Under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), it is these centres and not the police who are first responder for women who experience domestic violence.
  • Non-functional NGOs: The hotlines run by NGOs (whom women report such cases) are silent – attributed probably to continuous presence of the abuser at home 
  • Given the above situation there is now a lack of alternative alert system for women abuse

Way Forward

  • The state governments need to declare helplines as “essential services” that should remain open during lockdowns
  • Disseminate information about gender-based violence and publicise resources and services available.
  • Increase resourcing for NGOs that respond to domestic violence and aid — including shelter, counselling, and legal aid — to survivors.
  • Encourage the equitable sharing of domestic tasks at home.
  • Provide for the continued provision of healthcare services based on medical research and tests — unrelated to the virus — for women and girls
  • Ensure women’s timely access to necessary and comprehensive sexual & reproductive health services during the crisis, such as maternal health services, safe abortion etc.

Examples from other Countries worth emulating

  • French government will pay for up to 20,000 hotel nights for survivors and finance pop-up counselling centres at grocery stores for easy access to abuse survivors. 
  • In Spain, women are being given codewords such as “Mask-19” in pharmacy stores, which can act as an alarm-response mediator.

Connecting the dots:

  • Gender wage gap post the crisis
  • Intersectional Feminism

(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 Hydroxychloroquine:

  1. It is an anti-malarial drug. 
  2. It may cause liver damage. 

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. nCoVSENSEs is a rapid test device approved by Department of Science & Technology. 
  2. The device is costlier than RT-PCR

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 regarding Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal:

  1. It adjudicates disputes and disposes off appeals related to telecom sector.
  2. Its headquarter is in Mumbai. 

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 The Great Barrier Reef is located in which of the following countries? 

  1. Japan 
  2. Australia 
  3. United States 
  4. India

ANSWERS FOR 7th April 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 C
3 C
4 A
5 A

Must Read

An article by Amartya Sen on overcoming pandemic:

The Indian Express

About impact of COVID-19 and US sanctions on Iran :

The Hindu

About Rajasthan’s model of fighting COVID-19: 

The Hindu

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