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Insights Daily Current Events, 29 August 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 29 August 2015


Paper 1 & 2 Topics: Social empowerment and Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.

Revisit national policy for the elderly: SC

The Social Justice Bench of the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to revisit its national policy for the elderly.


  • Because the present policy is over 15 years old and a lot has changed on the ground since then.
  • A relook is necessary in the wake of the enactment of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Is it really necessary to revisit the policy?

Keeping in view the changing demographic pattern, socio-economic needs of the senior citizens, social value system and advancement in the field of science and technology over the last decade, it appears necessary to have a relook at the National Policy on Older Persons, 1999.


  • The above observations came during the hearing of a PIL petition seeking setting up of old age homes with basic healthcare facilities in every district of the country.
  • The PIL says that senior citizens are being deprived of their rights and has sought directions to initiate appropriate steps to carry out a survey of old age homes across the country.

National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP):

The National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP), enacted in 1999, envisages State support to ensure:

  • financial and food security
  • healthcare
  • shelter and other needs of older persons
  • equitable share in development
  • protection against abuse and exploitation
  • availability of services to improve the quality of their lives.

It also provides state support on issues like social security, inter-generational bonding, family as the primary caretaker, role of NGOs, training of manpower and research.


As per Census 2011, the population of senior citizens in the country is 10.38 crore, which is about 8.6% of the total population of the country.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

India-US to sign pact on exchange of information on terrorists

India and the US are likely to sign a pact on exchange of information on terrorists on a real time basis during the counter-terrorism and homeland security dialogue scheduled to be held in December this year.

  • The US-India Homeland Security Dialogue takes place between India’s Home Ministry and the US Department of Homeland Security to enhance homeland security cooperation and discuss building capacity in cyber security and critical infrastructure protection, countering illicit finance, global supply chain security, megacity policing, and science and technology.

How India benefits from this agreement?

  • With this agreement in place, India could get access to a U.S. database of 11,000 terror suspects on a real time basis.
  • India has also asked for access to Internet-related data from U.S.-based service providers like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, among others.


  • Some Indian security agencies have expressed concern over giving unhindered access to the U.S. on such sensitive database.
  • Hence, India has insisted that privacy issues be taken care of, and the agreement not be a tool to serve only the interests of the U.S.

About the agreement:

The Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD -6) is a model text agreement proposed by the U.S. for exchange of terrorist screening information between the Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) of the U.S. and an Indian agency.

  • The US has already finalised such agreements with 30 countries.
  • Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC ) is a multi agency organisation administered by FBI which consolidates several terrorist watch list maintained by different US government agencies into single terrorist data base on terror suspects.
  • The data base include name of the terror suspect, nationality, date of birth, photos, finger prints (if any), passport number.
  • As part of the agreement, India could share details on red corner notices as well as details on criminals or terrorists wanted across the country with the US.

Other proposals in the agreement:

Law enforcement engagement proposals include sharing lessons learned and best practices in SWAT team training and responding to mass casualty exercises, improving both nations’ capabilities to respond to terrorist incidents and natural disasters.

Sources: The Hindu, ET.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1,983 villages adopted under Grama Jyothi

During the 10-day Grama Jyothi programme of village-level planning and development, that concluded recently in nine districts of Telangana, a total of 1983 gram panchayats were adopted by elected representatives, police and government officials.


  • Ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, chairmen of Zilla Parishads, Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency members and Mandal Parishad presidents adopted 854 gram panchayats.
  • The police officers adopted 523 gram panchayats and district level officers 606.


  • The Telangana state government had asked the elected representatives and officers to adopt villages for the success of the programme.
  • They were supposed to coordinate with functional committees that were constituted under seven heads and work for creation of basic civic amenities in the adopted villages.

This was the first time in the country that such a large number of villages had been adopted for development. Before this, the Saansad Adarsh Grama Yojana of the Central government had envisaged that all the 545 MPs in the country take the responsibility of developing physical and institutional infrastructure in three villages by 2019.

About Gram Jyothi Scheme of Telangana:

  • The scheme is aimed at comprehensive development of rural areas.
  • It allows planning and execution of works by villages themselves.
  • With the village development committees playing the key role, the focus of the scheme would be at improving the Human Development Index (HDI) by addressing core issues such as roads, drains and sanitation, nutrition and health, drinking water, streetlights, wage employment and green cover.
  • A sum of Rs. 25,000 crore in five years will be spent under the scheme for rural development. Each village will be alloted Rs. 2 crore to Rs. 6 crore depending on the population.
  • The scheme is also aimed at strengthening panchayat raj system and to allow gram panchayats to formulate their own development plans.
  • The gram panchayats would be required to formulate a special development plan for the welfare of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

Sources: The Hindu, ET.


Paper 3 Topic: technology in the aid of farmers.

Naidu flags off chopper for aerial seeding

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu recently launched the aerial seeding programme in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

  • The Andhra government has planned to plant five crore trees in the next five years through various plantation programmes.

About the aerial seeding programme:

  • Under the aerial seeding plan, 150 metric tons will be used across the state.
  • Nearly 1,500 hectares of degraded forest on hill slopes in Guntur district not suitable for traditional methods of sowing will be covered under this programme.
  • The programme is being organised with the collaboration of Krishnapatnam Port.

What is aerial seeding?

Aerial seeding is a technique of sowing seeds using helicopters and aeroplanes to scatter them. Aerial reforestation has been usually done to repopulate forest land after some type of disaster since the 1930s.

  • Aerial seeding is an alternative to other seeding methods where terrain is extremely rocky or at high elevations or otherwise inaccessible.

Advantages of aerial seeding:

  • efficient coverage of a large area in the least amount of time.
  • it facilitates seeding in areas that otherwise would be impossible to seed with traditional methods, such as land that is too hard to reach by non aircraft or ground conditions being far too wet.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Topic – Paper – 3:. Achievements of Indians in S&T

Indian scientist awarded first Sunhak Peace Prize

Noted Indian agriculture scientist Modadugu Vijay Gupta, who has done pioneering work in aquaculture in India and several other countries, was recently awarded the first Sunhak Peace Prize, which he shared with the President of Kiribati Islands.

  • Tong, the President of Kiribati Islands which is facing the dire prospects of being engulfed by rising sea waters by 2050, was chosen for the award for his dogged fight to end the carbon emissions which are spelling doom for small island nations.

About Sunhak Peace Prize:

The Sunhak Peace Prize is intended to recognize and empower innovations in human development, conflict resolution and ecological conservation.

  • The award carries $1 million prize.
  • It is billed as an alternative to the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • The prizes will not be awarded based on celebrity or popularity, but on “substantial contributions” made by individuals or organizations to the ideal of peace.
  • This year’s prize focused on the theme of ocean conservation, climate change and aquaculture.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


Paper 3 Topic: Biodiversity and Environment.:

Paper – 1: Women empowerment/Role of women organisations

SHG women make a livelihood from algae

Algae cultivation has proved beneficial for many SHG women in Andhra Pradesh. Since, Andhra Pradesh has a coastline of 974 km, algae cultivation is an opportunity to improve the living conditions of lakhs of fishermen there and also earn foreign currency.

Algae and their uses:

  • Algae, popularly known as seaweeds, can be cultivated in seawater, including shallow and brackish waters.
  • It has been of immense industrial, human and agricultural value since time immemorial and gained prominence during 13th century, after the discovery of agar-agar in Japan and Alginic Acid in the European continent.
  • Substances of the seaweeds are being used as additives in food products and drugs to give them a smooth texture and help them retain moisture.
  • They are also used in lipsticks, soaps, film, paint, varnish and buttons and of huge demand in the domestic and international markets.
  • Algae is a highly subsidised crop in Andhra Pradesh, as the farmers would get 50% of subsidy on input costs. The crop duration is just 45 days and there has been a steady increase in the demand for the produce in the international.
  • Fisherfolk, especially women self-help groups from Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, have already been enjoying the benefits of algae cultivation while their counterparts from Kerala are on the job of tapping the potential.

Algae cultivation in Andhra Pradesh is yet to be explored fully. Though there is vast scope, attempts are still at a nascent stage. A pilot project was launched in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh long back. However, the cultivation has not been expanded to the other coastal districts.

Sources: The Hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

More children in school, but very few enter college

According to the new census data, while enrolment in school is now over 80% for school-age children, higher education enrolment remains low.

The new data also reveals that:

  • Over 400 million people, or over a third of the population in 2011, had never attended any school or educational institution.
  • Enrolment in educational institutions rose between 2001 and 2011 at every level, most of all in the primary and secondary school-going age of 7 to14 years.
  • Between the age of 7 and 14, over 80% of children are attending school.
  • In Kerala, the proportion of 7 to 14-year-olds attending school rose from 93% to over 97%.
  • In all, there are still over 25.6 million children between the age of 6 and 14 who are out of school.
  • Girls still lag behind boys in educational enrolment at this age but the gap has substantially reduced over the last decade; school and college enrolment rose faster among girls than among boys.
  • Despite a substantial improvement over the last decade, less than two out of three young Indians in the age group of 15 to 19 go to any sort of educational institution. The proportion is lower for girls, in rural areas and among Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students.
  • In 2001, just 44% of those aged 15 to 19 were in school or college, while in 2011 that proportion rose to nearly 60%.
  • There is also wide inter-State variation. While the proportion of 15 to19-year-olds enrolled in school or college is the lowest in Odisha and Gujarat at 43.3 %and 51.1% respectively, it is the highest in Himachal Pradesh (78.51%) and Kerala (82.87%).
  • Fewer than 25% of those aged 20 to 24 were enrolled in an educational institution in 2011.
  • Those taking up vocational education remains extremely low. Between the age of 15 and 24, the proportion of those enrolled in a vocational institute is under 5%. This figure is up from just over 2% in 2001.

Sources: The Hindu.


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