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Insights Daily Current Events, 12 April 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 12 April 2016

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Don’t share Aadhaar information: UIDAI

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has asked e-commerce players like e-Bay, Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal to stop merchants on their platform from collecting Aaddhaar information of people transacting.

  • The ministry of communications and IT has also warned the general public against sharing personal information to people who are charging between Rs 50 to Rs 200 on a plastic card in the name of smart card.
  • The ministry has also warned that collecting information related to Aadhaar card or its unauthorised printing or aiding such persons in any manner may amount to a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment under Indian Penal Code and also Chapter VI of The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.

About UIDAI:

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was set up in 2009 as an attached office of the erstwhile Planning Commission of India.

  • Its objective is to collect the biometric and demographic data of residents, store them in a centralised database, and issue a 12-digit unique identity number called Aadhaar to each resident.
  • The UIDAI has also been given the responsibility to lay down plan and policies to implement UID scheme, to own and operate the UID database and be responsible for its updation and maintenance on an ongoing basis.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Health cover: Too little, too scarce

The latest National Sample Survey (NSS) shows that over 80% of India’s population is not covered under any health insurance scheme. The data reveals that despite seven years of the Centre-run Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), only 12% of the urban and 13% of the rural population had access to insurance cover.

What else the survey notes?

  • Around 86% of the rural population and 82% of the urban population are not covered under any scheme of health expenditure support.
  • Coverage is correlated with living standards, as in urban areas, over 90% of the poorest residents are not covered, while the figure is 66% for the richest residents.
  • The poorer households appear unaware or are beyond the reach of such coverage, both in rural and urban areas.

Share of Private doctors:

Private doctors are the single-most significant source of treatment in both rural and urban areas. 72% of the treatment provided in rural areas and 79% in urban areas was availed in the private sector. The corresponding figures in the previous survey were 78% in rural areas and 81% in urban areas, which shows that the overall share of public sector saw a slight increase.

  • The rural population spent, on an average, Rs.5,636 for hospitalised treatment in a public sector hospital and Rs.21,726 at a private sector hospital.

Challenges:

  • The biggest hurdle in seeking medical treatment was financial constraint, reported by over 55% and 60% people in rural and urban areas, respectively.
  • In rural areas, the next most important reason was no medical facility available in neighbourhood, accounting for 15% cases, while this figure was just 1.3% for urban areas.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

SC defends Lodha panel

Defending Justice Lodha Panel recommendations, Supreme Court of India has observed that these recommendations do not infringe on anyone’s fundamental right as there are no private citizens on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

  • These observations were made by the court when BCCI and CCI said the recommendations affected Article 19 (1) (c), which enshrines the fundamental right of citizens to form union or associations under the Indian Constitution.

Background:

Lodha committee was set up by the Supreme Court to recommend reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The three-member panel was headed by Justice (Retd) RM Lodha.

Important recommendations made by the committee:

Constitute one cricket body for each state: One association of each state will be a full member and have right to vote. One unit should represent one state.

CEO-run organisation: Committee suggested the restructuring of the BCCI’s administrative set-up, proposing the position of a CEO accountable to a nine-member apex council. An apex council for the BCCI comprising 9 members, of which 5 should be elected, 2 should be representatives of players association, and one woman. CEO to be assisted by 6 professional managers and the team of CEO and managers will be accountable to the apex council.

Under RTI: To ensure transparency in its functioning, the panel had said that it is important to bring the body under the purview of the Right to Information Act.

Ethics officer: The committee recommended the institution of the office of an Ethics Officer, who would be responsible for resolving issues related to the conflict of interest. Ethics officer would be a former High Court judge.

Electoral officer: The committee had also suggested the appointment of an Electoral Officer to conduct the Board elections. The electoral officer would oversee the entire election process relating to the office-bearers namely, preparation of voters list, publication, dispute about eligibility of the office-bearers

Ombudsman: It had also proposed an Ombudsman for dealing with internal conflicts. Ombudsman can take cognisance of complaints suo moto, or received complaint or referred complaint by the apex council.

It also suggested that a person cannot be a BCCI office-bearer and a state association office-bearer at the same time.

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

Maharashtra Legislative Council clears Bill to regulate dance bars

The Maharashtra Legislative Council has unanimously cleared the Bill to regulate dance bars in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.

  • Following its clearance in the Upper House, the Bill will now be introduced in the Assembly.

As per the bill:

  • Dance bars have not been banned but stringent conditions have been imposed to ensure that no owner comes forward to set up a dance bar.
  • All performances will have to be approved by the censor board for theatre performances.
  • Approximately five feet distance must be maintained between customers and dancers.
  • Performers cannot be touched by anyone and neither money nor gifts can be showered on them. Podium will be isolated by a three-foot wall.
  • Restaurant and dancing area should be kept separate by building a wall and liquor will not be served where the performance is on.
  • No more than four dancers can perform on a platform at a time.
  • Performance cannot be vulgar. However, the bill does not specify the definition of “vulgar.”
  • All dancers should be 21 years old and it is the responsibility of the hotel owner to provide Provident Fund to them. Dance bars cannot be opened in a residential area.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Proof to link Zika virus with brain defects

Researchers have now produced evidence of how Zika virus causes brain defect in babies. Several cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect in which the brain fails to grow properly, continue to be reported in Brazil following the outbreak of Zika virus, first detected in the country in May 2015.

Details:

To study how the virus causes birth defects in babies, researchers used human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to make neural stem cells (NSC), neurospheres and brain organoids.

  • How quickly the neural stem cells get infected with Zika virus became clear when the researchers detected it just 24 hours after they were exposed. The researchers used the virus-infected neural cells and cultured them as neurospheres.
  • While those cells not infected with the virus generated normal neurospheres, the virus-infected neural cells generated neurospheres with abnormalities. At the end of six days, the virus killed most of the neurospheres.

However, further studies are needed to characterise the consequences of Zika infection during different stages of foetal development.

Zika virus:

Zika virus disease is an emerging viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. This is the same mosquito that is known to transmit infections like dengue and chikungunya.

  • World Health Organisation has reported 22 countries and territories in Americas from where local transmission of Zika virus has been reported.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Bharti’s payments bank unit gets final RBI nod

Bharti Airtel’s payments bank venture — Airtel M Commerce Services Ltd. — has become the first entity to receive final approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start a payments bank.

Background:

In August last year, the banking regulator granted in-principle licences to 11 entities to start payments banks.

  • The ‘in-principle’ approval was valid for 18 months, during which time the applicants were asked by RBI to comply with the licensing norms.
  • Most of the players who received the payments licences are yet to apply for the final licences.

All about Payment Banks:

Payment Bank is a step towards financial inclusion.

  • Capital requirement: The minimum paid-up equity capital for payments banks is Rs. 100 crore.
  • The payments bank should have a leverage ratio of not less than 3%, i.e., its outside liabilities should not exceed 33.33 times its net worth (paid-up capital and reserves).
  • Promoter’s contribution: The promoter’s minimum initial contribution to the paid-up equity capital of such payments bank shall at least be 40% for the first five years from the commencement of its business.
  • Foreign shareholding: The foreign shareholding in the payments bank would be as per the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy for private sector banks as amended from time to time.
  • Apart from amounts maintained as Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) with the Reserve Bank on its outside demand and time liabilities, it will be required to invest minimum 75% of its “demand deposit balances” in Statutory Liquidity Ratio(SLR) eligible Government securities/treasury bills with maturity up to one year and hold maximum 25% in current and time/fixed deposits with other scheduled commercial banks for operational purposes and liquidity management.

What are the scopes of activities of Payment Banks?

  • Payments banks will mainly deal in remittance services and accept deposits of up to Rs 1 lakh.
  • They will not lend to customers and will have to deploy their funds in government papers and bank deposits.
  • The promoter’s minimum initial contribution to equity capital will have to be at least 40% for the first five years.
  • They can accept demand deposits.
  • Payments bank will initially be restricted to holding a maximum balance of Rs. 100,000 per individual customer.
  • Can issue ATM/debit cards but not credit cards.
  • Can carry out payments and remittance services through various channels.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Government constitutes a Three Member Committee for Content Regulation of Government Advertising

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has constituted a three member committee to address the issues related to Content Regulation in Government Advertising.

  • The committee would be chaired by Shri B.B. Tandon, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India.

Background:

Hon’ble Supreme Court had directed to constitute the Body for ironing out the creases that are bound to show from time to time in implementation of the judgement of Apex Court on Content Regulation of Government Advertising.

Terms of reference:

  • As per the Terms of Reference, the Committee would, inter-alia, address complaints from the general public of violation on the implementation of the guidelines set out by Hon’ble Supreme Court.
  • The Committee would also take suo motu cognizance of any violation / deviation of the guidelines of Hon’ble Supreme Court and recommend corrective action to the Ministry /Department.
  • The Committee may recommend suitable changes to the Supreme Court guidelines to deal with new circumstances and situations that may arise from time to time, without making major policy changes within the policy direction of Supreme Court.
  • The Committee is not bound by any legal rules of evidence and may follow such procedure that appears to it to be fair and proper for swift settlement of grievances. For all decisions of the Committee, the view of majority would prevail.

The Committee would be operational from Delhi and Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity would facilitate day to day functioning of the Committee. The tenure of the members would be initially for a period of two years which shall be extendable by one year at a time, but overall extension should not be more than two times.

Sources: pib.


 

Facts for Prelims from “The Hindu”:

Researchers have discovered a new antibiotic-resistant gene, called Dubbed mcr-1, which is resistant to colistin, a life-saving medication. Mcr-1, the resistance-conferring gene easily transfers between bacteria, benign or otherwise, found in humans, animals or the environment.

  • First identified in China last November, the gene has since been discovered in livestock, water, meat and vegetables for human consumption in several countries, and in humans infected with E.coli– one of the disease-causing bacteria it targets. For the first time now, mcr-1 has been found living in the gut of healthy humans.
  • Colistin has been available since 1959 in order to treat infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria — a category including the food-poisoning germs E-coli and Salmonella, as well as Acinetobacter which can cause pneumonia or serious blood and wound infections. It was abandoned for human use in the 1980s due to high kidney toxicity, but is widely used in livestock farming, especially in China.