DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th December 2020

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  • December 25, 2020
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PM to launch Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT to extend coverage to all residents of J&K

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and Interventions; Health

In news 

  • Indian Prime Minister will launch Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT to extend health coverage to all the residents of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.  

Key takeaways 

  • The scheme will ensure Universal Health Coverage. 
  • Focus: Providing financial risk protection and ensuring quality and affordable essential health services to all individuals and communities. 
  • The Scheme also provides free of cost insurance cover to all the residents of the UT of J&K. 
  • It provides financial cover upto Rs 5 lakh per family on a floater basis to all residents of the UT. 
  • It provides for operational extension of PM-JAY to 15 lakh (approx) additional families. 
  • The scheme will operate on insurance mode in convergence with PM-JAY. 
  • The benefits of the scheme will be portable across the country. 
  • The hospitals empanelled under PM-JAY scheme shall provide services under this scheme as well.

Do you know? 

  • Universal Health Coverage (UHC) includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care. 
  • It enables everyone to access the services, protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets and reducing the risk that people will be pushed to poverty. 
  • The Ayushman Bharat program, with its two pillars – Health and Wellness Centres and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna – is envisaged to achieve UHC.

Important value additions 

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) 

  • It was launched to provide free access to healthcare for 40% of people in India. 
  • People using the program access their own primary care services from a family doctor. 
  • If anyone needs additional care, AB PM-JAY provides free secondary health care for those who need specialist treatment and tertiary health care for those requiring hospitalization. 
  • The program is centrally sponsored. 
  • It is jointly funded by both the Central government and the states.

Products Specific Warehouses/Silos to come up at Ports and National Waterways

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news 

  • Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) intends to create Product Specific Warehouses/Silos at various Ports (including both Major and Non-Major Ports), Multi Modal Logistics Parks located near Port area and alongside the National Waterways.

Key takeaways 

  • It will enhance water-borne cargo volumes, reduce logistics cost and promote Ease of Doing Business. 
  • There is also a plan to create world-class Product Specific Agglomeration Centre on ‘Pay and Use Model’ which will immensely benefit the small traders and logistics players. 
  • The purpose of development of this infrastructure is to reduce the storage losses and facilitate distribution of cargo in the hinterland.
  • The Silos will be for products such as Cement Silos, Liquid Tanks, Chemicals Tanks, Cold/RefrigeratedStorage, Electronics Product Storage or any other suggested products.
  • The smaller players find it difficult to get their product specific storage silos at various locations. 
  • The development of these world-class warehousing spaces will give a big push with better planning and inventory management. 
  • The smaller players would have the option of paying nominal fees to make use of thisworld-classinfrastructure. 

Do you know? 

  • The Ministry aims to reduce logistic cost with appropriate infrastructure interventions as a part of ambitious Sagarmala Programme. 
  • The Programme was launched n 2016.
  • This is the flagship programme of the Ministry to promote port-led development in India by harnessing potential of India’s 7,500 Km long coastline and ~21000 km navigable waterways.

Tso Kar Wetland Complex becomes India’s 42nd Ramsar site

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

In news 

  • India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site. 
  • It is also a second one in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

Key takeaways 

  • The Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex. 
  • It consists of two principal waterbodies, Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake and Tso Kar itself, a hypersaline lake situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh. 
  • It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water.
  • The Tso Kar Basin is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per Bird Life International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway.
  • The site is also one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India.
  • This IBA is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and many other species.

Do you know? 

  • Tso Moriri or Lake Moriri or “Mountain Lake”, is a lake in the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh. 
  • It was notified in 2002 under the List of Ramsar Wetland sites under the Ramsar Convention.

Important value additions 

The Ramsar Convention 

  • It was signed on 2nd February, 1971. 
  • It is one of the oldest inter-governmental accords signed by member countries. 
  • Objective: To preserve the ecological character of their wetlands of international importance.
  • It is named after Ramsar, the Iranian city where the treaty was signed. 
  • Places chosen for conservation under it are given the tag ‘Ramsar site’.
  • The aim of the Ramsar list: To develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits.

Related articles:

FASTag to become mandatory for all vehicles from 2021

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news 

  • Recently, it was announced that FASTag is being made mandatory for all vehicles in India from 2021.
  • It will be enforced from 1st of January, 2021.
  • Ministry: Ministry for Road Transport, Highway

Key takeaways 

  • The FASTags were launched in the year 2016.
  • Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had issued a notification in November this year making FASTag mandatory by 1st of January 2021 in old vehicles also sold before 1st December, 2017 through amendments in CMVR, 1989.
  • As per Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989, since 1st December 2017, the FASTag had been made mandatory for all registration of new four wheeled Vehicles and is being supplied by the Vehicle Manufacturer or their dealers.
  • It had further been mandated that the renewal of fitness certificate will be done only after the fitment of FASTag for the Transport Vehicles.

Do you know?

  • For National Permit Vehicles, the fitment of FASTag was mandated since 1st October 2019.
  • It has also been mandated that a valid FASTag is mandatory while getting a new 3rd Party Insurance. This shall be applicable w.e.f. 1 April 2021.
  • This would be a major step for ensuring that the payment of fees be 100% at Toll Plazas through the Electronic Means only and that the vehicles pass seamlessly through the Fee Plazas.
  • There would be no waiting time at the Plazas and would save fuel.

Related articles:

Manipur’s ZOMI renews its demand for the creation of Zoland Territorial Council 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Tribal issues & GS-II – Constitution

In news 

  • Manipur’s Zomi ethnic group has renewed its demand for the creation of Zoland Territorial Council (ZTC) under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, a self-administered zone on the lines of the Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam.

Important value additions 


  • The Zou people or Zomi are an indigenous community living along the frontier of India and Burma. 
  • They are a sub-group of the Zo people (Mizo-Kuki-Chin).
  • In India, they live with and are similar in language and habits to the Paite and the Simte peoples.
  • In India, the Zou are officially recognized as one of the 33 indigenous peoples within the state of Manipur, and are one of the Scheduled tribes.
  • According to the 2001 Census, the Zou/Jou population in Manipur is around 20,000, less than 3% of the total population. 
  • The community is concentrated in Churachandpur and Chandel districts of Manipur.

Coronavirus In Antarctica

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health

In news 

  • At least 36 people at a Chilean research station in Antarctica have been found infected with the novel coronavirus.
  • This is the first instance of the virus on the southernmost continent.

Important value additions 


  • Antarctica is uninhabited except for those manning the nearly 60 permanent stations established by several countries, including India, for carrying out scientific research.
  • As of now, the Indian contingent in Antarctica is not worried about the virus spreading. 
  • The two Indian permanent stations in Antarctica, Maitri and Bharati, are at least 5,000 km away from the Chilean base. 
  • The two Indian stations are themselves separated by almost 3,000 km.
  • The Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) is the nodal agency for India’s scientific expeditions in Antarctica and the Arctic.

Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) to launch municipal bonds in January 2021

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In news 

  • The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is expected to launch municipal bonds in January 2021.

Key takeaways 

  • With this, it will become the third Urban Local Body (ULB) in Gujarat to use this method to raise money to fund development work sanctioned under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). 
  • It has sought approval for the same from the state government.
  • Ahmedabad was the first city in south Asia to launch a municipal bond of Rs 100 crore in 1998. 
  • Surat Municipal Corporation was the second city in Gujarat to announce bonds in 2018.

Important value additions 

Municipal bond

  • A municipal bond is a kind of debt instrument where investors offer loans to local governments.
  • They are issued by civic bodies for specific projects and usually have a 10-year tenure.
  • The ULB pays the annual interest on the bonds to the investor at the decided rate. 
  • The difference between a bank loan and a municipal bond is that any institution can secure a bond only if it has favourable credit ratings.
  • Benefits: The bond helps raise funds from the stock market. It also increases the number of investors available to the civic body, as compared to a loan from a single bank.

Do you know? 

  • Under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme, urban local bodies (ULBs) are encouraged to tap the bond market.
  • Bonds help ensure improved credit profiles, direct transfer of funds by the Centre, transparency and efficient revenue generation.

Related articles:

T.N. government gives nod for Jallikattu

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Culture

In news 

  • The Tamil Nadu government has permitted jallikattu to be held across the State during the upcoming Pongal season. 

Key takeaways 

  • The sport would be subject to fresh restrictions in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Not more than 300 bull tamers would be allowed to take part in a jallikattu, ‘manjuvirattu’ or ‘vadamadu’ event.
  • All necessary precautions have to be taken with regard to prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Important value additions 

  • Jallikattu is referred to as bull taming event. 
  • Practiced in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal. 
  • ‘jallikattu’ is derived from Tamil words Jalli refers to gold or silver coins ,Kattu means ‘tied’.
  • Found mentioned in the Sangam literature (2500 years ago).
  • It is controversial Because the sport often results in major injuries and even deaths of both bulls and humans.
  • Supreme Court in 2014 banned Jallikattu in response to Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) petitions citing cruelty to animals.
  • The article 51A of the constitution states that citizens should safeguard the wildlife and forests and have compassion for living creatures.


Navies of India, Vietnam to hold passage exercise

  • Indian Navy ship INS Kiltan, which arrived in Vietnam recently to deliver relief material under Mission Sagar-III, will hold a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the Vietnamese Navy in the South China Sea (SCS). 
  • INS Kiltan arrived at port Nha Rong and will deliver 15 tonnes of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) material to Vietnam’s central steering committee for national disaster prevention and control. 
  • The current visit seeks to enhance maritime cooperation between the two Navies. 
  • It will further enhance the strong bonds of friendship between the two countries and contribute to security and stability in the region. 

(Mains Focus)


Topic: General Studies 2, 3:

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

Reviving the economy: 3C approach to atmanirbharta

Context: The economic ramifications of COVID-19 have a significant bearing on reshaping the world economic order as countries weigh their external linkages and recalibrate development strategies. 

Do You Know?

  • According to forecasts by the OECD, by end-2021, the US economy is likely to be the same size as it was in 2019, but China is expected to be 10% larger. 
  • Europe and Japan would languish below their pre-pandemic level of output and could do so for several years. 

What is India’s Position?

  • From India’s perspective, recovery in GDP growth is firmly on track and sets the foundation to regain our position as the fastest-growing major economy next year.
  • For India to claim its rightful position in the new world order, it is imperative that the vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is globally integrated to harness the opportunities created by the emerging shifts.
  • At this critical juncture, it is important to set the vision of positioning Aatmanirbhar Bharat in the new world order with priorities closely linked with our global aspirations. 
  • Moving in this direction, our focus should be on three interconnected strategic priorities.
  1. Commerce: Increasing India’s share in world exports and FDI
  • On trade and FDI, it is crucial to reaffirm that Aatmanirbhar Bharat is not mistaken for an inward-looking India.The path taken by India is not about being self-contained but strengthening our position in global supply chains.
  • Bolstering international trade and investments is key for India to lift its GDP growth and per-capita income.
  • The share of India’s exports of goods and services in GDP has declined steadily from 24.5% in 2011 to 18.7% in 2019. At 13th position globally, India has a share of 2.2% in world exports of goods and services—nearly a fifth of China (10.6%). 
  • It is noteworthy to mention that India’s trade to GDP ratio has surpassed that of China since 2008, but our imports outweigh exports significantly. 
  • A renewed focus is required to rejuvenate exports with a special emphasis on high potential manufacturing sectors—electronics, apparels, pharma, among others.
  • With regard to FDI, an analysis of G20 countries reveals that India achieved the highest growth of 20.3% (CAGR) in FDI inflows between 1990 and 2019. However, in value terms, India ranked 9th globally in 2019, which shows further potential to move up the global order.
  1. Competitiveness
  • Achieving a higher share in exports and FDI needs to be oriented with a push for greater global competitiveness. 
  • This requires investment in infrastructure, particularly in power and logistics, and reducing the regulatory compliance burden on companies. 
  • The emerging shifts in global value chains(GVC) provide India a significant opportunity to attract multinational companies. Therefore, sustained efforts are needed to build technical capacities and scale of Indian enterprises for enhancing participation in GVCs
  • It will also be crucial to embrace Industry 4 with greater adoption of frontier technologies by the Indian industry.
  1. Currency
  • Finally, thrust on expanding trade and investment can be supplemented with promoting greater use of rupee in international settlements to be more resilient to external shocks and currency risks. 
  • India needs to take a leaf from China’s playbook on currency internationalisation
  • In 2019, the cross-border RMB settlement amounted to RMB 19.7 trillion ($2.8 trillion), accounting for 38.1% of China’s total cross-border settlement. On trade, cross-border settlement reached RMB 5.2 trillion ($745 billion) with a share of 15% in China’s total trade.
  • From India’s standpoint, steps can be taken to enhance trade settlement in rupee in a two-pronged process: 
    • Regionalisation—strengthening the mechanism already existing with Nepal and Bhutan and extending to other major countries in the region, and 
    • Internationalisation—involving key partner countries globally.
  • A broad-based push to currency internationalisation and greater global acceptability of rupee can come from setting a goal to be the next currency for inclusion in IMF’s SDR basket. 


To conclude, linking the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat with global strategic priorities of enhancing 3Cs—commerce, competitiveness & currency internationalisation can be a cornerstone to strengthen India’s position in the post-pandemic new world order.


Topic: General Studies 1,2:

  • Social Issues
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Marital Rape

Context: Domestic violence in India is an entrenched problem, and it has only been exacerbated in the recent years.

Vulnerability of Indian Women

  • Domestic Violence: About 70% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. 
  • Rape: National Crime Records Bureau’s (NCRB) ‘Crime in India’ 2019 report shows that a woman is raped every 16 minutes, and every four minutes, she experiences cruelty at the hands of her in-laws. 
  • Reporting of Sexual Violence: An analysis of National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 data indicates that an estimated 99.1 per cent of sexual violence cases go unreported 
  • Marital Violence: The average Indian woman is 17 times more likely to face sexual violence from her husband than from others.

What is Marital Rape?

  • Marital rape, the act of forcing your spouse into having sex without proper consent
  • It is an unjust yet not uncommon way to degrade and disempower women. 

What are the recommendation of committees regarding Marital Rape?

  • In 2013, the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recommended that the Indian government should criminalize marital rape. 
  • The JS Verma committee set up in the aftermath of nationwide protests over the December 16, 2012 gang rape case had also recommended the same.

How does Indian Law regime deal with Marital Rape?

  • One of the most horrifying and repressive issues with the Indian legal regime is that marital rape is perfectly legal
  • Section 375 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines the offence of rape with the help of six descriptions. One of the exceptions to this offence is “Sexual intercourse or sexual acts by a man with his own wife, the wife not being under 15 years of age, is not rape”.

What is the Criticism of India’s Legal regime on Marital Rape?

  • Against International Norm: Today, it has been impeached in more than 100 countries but, unfortunately, India is one of the only 36 countries where marital rape is still not criminalized
  • Concerns of Implied Consent: The concept of marital rape in India is the epitome of what we call an “implied consent”. Marriage between a man and a woman here implies that both have consented to sexual intercourse and it cannot be otherwise. The Indian Penal Code, 1860, also communicates the same.
  • Against Right to Life and Right to Equality: The Supreme Court has included sanctity of women, and freedom to make choices related to sexual activity under the ambit of Article 21. Therefore, this exception clause is violative of Article 14 and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Patriarchal outlook of Laws: Rape laws in our country continue with the patriarchal outlook of considering women to be the property of men post marriage, with no autonomy or agency over their bodies. They deny married women equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Indian constitution.
  • Differentiates Married & Unmarried women: A married woman has the same right to control her own body as does an unmarried woman. Unfortunately, this principle is not upheld in Indian rape laws.
  • Marital Rape is more dangerous to Women’s life: Rape is rape, irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator, and age of the survivor. A woman who is raped by a stranger, lives with a memory of a horrible attack; a woman who is raped by her husband lives with her rapist.
  • Colonial Hangover:  Our penal laws, handed down from the British, have by and large remained untouched even after 73 years of independence. But English laws have been amended and marital rape was criminalised way back in 1991. No Indian government has, however, so far shown an active interest in remedying this problem.
  • Violative of UN Convention: Section 375 (Exception) of IPC is inconsistent with and violative of these principles of United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women
  • Does not pass the test of “intelligible differentia”: Essentially, Section 375 (Exception) creates a classification not only between consent given by a married and unmarried woman, but also between married females below 15 years of age and over 15 years old. Such a classification does not pass the test of “intelligible differentia

Do You Know?

  • In 2017, a PIL was filed by Independent Thought, an NGO, challenging this unintelligible classification and claiming that married women over 15 years of age should also be afforded this protection. 
  • The Supreme Court concurred with these averments to some extent and extended the age limit in Section 375 from 15 years to 18 years.
  • The above judgment was only a small step towards striking down the legalisation of marital rape. 


  • It is high time that the legislature should take cognisance of marital rape and bring it within the purview of rape laws by eliminating Section 375 (Exception) of IPC. 
  • By removing this law, women will be safer from abusive spouses, can receive the help needed to recover from marital rape and can save themselves from domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Connecting the dots:

  • Sex Abuse and Safeguarding our Children: Click here


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • 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 Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT will be launched to extend health coverage to all residents of which of the following State/UT?

  1. Gujarat
  2. Ladakh
  3. Jammu & Kashmir
  4. Sikkim

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY):

  1. It provides free primary health care for 40% of people in India.
  2. The program is centrally sponsored. 

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 Tso Kar Wetland Complex recently became India’s 42nd Ramsar site. Where is it located?

  1. Sikkim
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. Kashmir
  4. Ladakh

Q.4 Zomi are an indigenous community living in which of the following state of India?

  1. Assam
  2. Mizoram
  3. Tripura
  4. Manipur


1 A
2 A
3 B

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