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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 March 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 16 March 2018


Paper 1:

Topic: Women related issues.


LaQshya programme

Context: The Union Health Ministry has announced the launch of LaQshya, a programme aimed at improving quality of care in labour room and maternity operation theatre.


About the Programme:

What is it? It is an initiative to improve the quality of care in the labour rooms, operation theatres and other mother and child areas in public health facilities across the country.

Aim: The programme aims at implementing ‘fast-track’ interventions for achieving tangible results within 18 months.

Strategy: Under the initiative, a multipronged strategy has been adopted, including improving infrastructure upgradation, ensuring availability of essential equipment, providing adequate human resources, capacity building of healthcare workers and improving quality processes in the labour room.

Guidelines include: Ensuring privacy for mothers-to-be, providing a comfortable position during delivery, no-tolerance policy towards verbal or physical abuse on women and no demand of gratuitous payment by the staff.

LaQshya certification: A healthcare facility achieving 70% score on NQAS will be declared ‘LaQshya’ certified. Facilities scoring over 90, 80 and 70% will get platinum, gold and silver badges respectively.

Incentives: Facilities achieving NQAS certification and having 80% satisfied beneficiaries will be given monetary incentive with medical college hospitals getting Rs 6 lakh and Rs 3 lakh for district hospitals.



India has improved maternal survival as Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) reduced from 301 maternal deaths in 2001-03 to 167 in 2011-13, an impressive decline of 45% in a decade.



There has been a substantial increase in the number of the institutional deliveries in the last decade of implementation of the National Health Mission (NHM). However, this increase in the numbers has not translated into commensurate improvements in the key maternal and new-born indicators such as maternal mortality and morbidity, still birth rates and early initiation of breastfeeding.


Significance of the scheme:

The available evidence shows that the first day of birth is the day of greatest risk for mothers and newborns. The programme will improve the quality of care for pregnant women in labour rooms, maternity operation theatres, and obstetrics Intensive Care Units and High Dependency Units.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: LaQshya programme.
  • For Mains: Maternal mortality- challenges and solutions.


Sources: pib.




Paper 2:

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC)


Context: The government is considering handing the task of maintaining, managing and earning revenue from immovable properties attached in money laundering cases to the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC).

What’s the proposal? The proposal is to manage the seized land, which can often measure several thousand acres, as well as numerous factories, flats, buildings and shops taken over by the ED.


What necessitated this move?

  • The proposal to mandate NBCC to do the job was at the behest of the ED and mooted by the finance ministry about six months ago. It was felt that lack of proper maintenance led to decay of the properties and the agency had to continuously spend on their upkeep.
  • As of now, the ED manages the properties confiscated by it but does not have experience in how to do so and there is no provision under PMLA for rental to earn revenue.


About NBCC:

  • NBCC (India) Limited, formerly known as National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd., is a blue-chip Government of India Navratna Enterprise under the Ministry of Urban Development.
  • It engages in the Real Estate Development & Construction business and also provides Project Management Consultancy. It is the sole land authorised agency for central undertakings.
  • The Company has been notified as a Public Works Organization (PWO) explicitly, a construction agency, as per which Government Department(s)/ PSUs and Autonomous Bodies can award the works to NBCC on nomination basis.
  • NBCC is also designated as the implementing agency for executing projects under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY), Solid Waste Management (SWM) and developmental work in North Eastern Region.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Context: The exercise of conducting social audit of Child Care Institutions has been initiated by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). This is in pursuance of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in State of Tamil Nadu vs. UOI & Ors.


Child care institutions:

The Government has enacted the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 in order to further improve and strengthen the condition of rehabilitation homes.

  • Under the JJ Act, 2015 several provisions have been included to improve the condition of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) including those housing children in conflict with law by providing for inspections of these CCIs by Juvenile Justice Board; prescribing various rehabilitation and reintegration services including skill development, recreational facilities, mental health interventions, etc.



A child care institution as defined under the JJ Act,2015, means Children Home, Open Shelter, Observation Home, Special Home, Place of Safety, Specialised Adoption Agency and a Fit Facility recognized under the Act for providing care and protection to children, who are in need of such services. Children in conflict with law are provided residential care and protection in Observation Homes, Special Homes and Places of Safety.


About NCPCR:

  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body established under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act in December 2005.
  • The commission works under the aegis of Min. of Women and Child development.
  • Its Mandate is “to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Definition of a child: As defined by the commission, child includes those up to the age of 18 years.


What’s important?

For Prelims and Mains: NCPCR.


Sources: pib.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


World Happiness Index


Context: World Happiness Report for the year 2018 has been released. The World Happiness Report 2018, ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, and 117 countries by the happiness of their immigrants.

Main focus:

The main focus of this year’s report, in addition to its usual ranking of the levels and changes in happiness around the world, is on migration within and between countries.

The report includes four chapters on migration, both internal (within-country) and international (cross-country), investigating the happiness of migrants, their families left behind, and others living in the cities and countries receiving migrants.


About the World Happiness Report:

What is it? The World Happiness Report is a measure of happiness published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

How are the countries ranked? The rankings are based on Gallup polls of self-reported wellbeing, as well as perceptions of corruption, generosity and freedom.


Performance of various countries:

  • Finland has been ranked the most stable, the safest and best governed country in the world. It is also among the least corrupt and the most socially progressive. Its police are the world’s most trusted and its banks the soundest. Finland’s immigrants are also the happiest immigrant population in the world.
  • Top ten in order of overall happiness are Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia.
  • The United States came in at 18th, down from 14th place last year. Britain was 19th and the United Arab Emirates 20th.
  • Burundi in east Africa, scarred by bouts of ethnic cleansing, civil wars and coup attempts, is the unhappiest place in the world. Strikingly, there are five other nations – Rwanda, Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan and the Central African Republic – which report happiness levels below that of even Syria.
  • All the Nordic countries scored highly on income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.


Performance of India and its neighbours:

  • India ranked 133rd, far behind terror-ravaged Pakistan and poorest-of-poor Nepal.
  • It was placed 122nd last year, which was a drop from 118th rank the preceding year.
  • Among the eight Saarc nations, Pakistan was at 75th position, up five spots from last year.
  • Nepal stood at 101, Bhutan at 97, Bangladesh at 115 while Sri Lanka was at 116.
  • China is far ahead at 86th spot.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3:

Topic: Infrastructure- energy.


WEF energy transition index


Context: World Economic Forum (WEF) has released the energy transition index as part of the report titled Fostering Effective Energy Transition. The index ranks 114 countries on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability.


Global performance:

  • The overall list was topped by Sweden, followed by Norway at the 2nd position and Switzerland at the 3rd rank.
  • Other countries on the top 10 include Finland (4th), Denmark (5th), the Netherlands (6th), the UK (7th), Austria (8th), France (9th) and Iceland (10th).
  • Among its emerging market peers Brazil stood at the 38th place, Russia at 70th and China at 76th place.


Performance of India:

  • India has been ranked at 78th, lower than its emerging market peers like Brazil and China.
  • In the Index, India ranks in the third performance quartile and third readiness quartile, making it an emerging country that is approaching the leapfrog category.
  • Concerns: Energy needs in the country are primarily met by fossil fuels with implications for environmental sustainability and increasing energy import costs. Furthermore, a considerable share of India’s population still lacks access to electricity and clean cooking fuel.
  • Challenges: The Indian renewable energy landscape shows promise, with subsequent renewable energy auctions clearing at prices lower than those in long-term thermal power purchase contracts. However, this has also cast uncertainty on the economic viability of thermal power plants, which account for 58% of India’s primary energy supply.


Way ahead:

Worldwide progress towards environmental sustainability has stalled, while energy prices have risen in real terms in more than half of the countries surveyed despite an overall fall in fuel prices.

India has taken “bold measures” to improve energy access, energy efficiency, and to improve the deployment of renewable sources of energy. However, energy transition in the country will require “large investments, and an enabling environment and robust regulatory frameworks to support the transition”. “India is at the crossroads in its energy transition journey.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: About the index.
  • For Mains: Energy needs of the country- opportunities and challenges.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology.


Antibiotic resistance

Context: A study has found that, Escherichia coli, a pathogen seen in over 90% of Egyptian vultures that migrate to northwest India to spend the winter, tend to show significant difference in resistance to antibiotics within a single season. This is due to the environment that the vultures were exposed to — carcasses, garbage, and domestic animals.



The vultures that use human-dominated landscapes as part of their life cycle were likely to act as “reservoirs and melting pots of bacterial resistance.


What is E.coli?

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacteria that is surprisingly an important aspect of human intestinal tract health. Most E.coli are harmless bacteria and assist in everyday health. However the E.coli that generally make the headlines are pathogenic, which cause illnesses such as diarrhea, or even things outside the intestinal functions.


How is it transferred?

Usually, the E. coli that causes diarrhea is transferred through food, water, or contact with animals/people who already have E.coli. The infection usually occurs if you swallow miniscule amounts of human or animal feces (this amount is often invisible to the naked eye). These tiny traces of feces usually comes from contaminated food such as, raw produce, raw milk, soft cheese, unpasteurized apple cider, or even dealing with a dirty diaper or an employee not thoroughly washing their hands when preparing food.


What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotics are medicine used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotic Resistance refers to resistance developed by bacteria against antibiotics or the ability of bacteria to mutate or change so as to resist the effects of antibiotics. The more we use them, and the more we abuse them, the less effective they become.


Way ahead:

Antibiotic resistance is a crisis on the level of climate change. It’s already killing tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands a year. The world needs to be looking more closely at drugmakers and the governments that choose to protect them. Also, the global community needs to urgently address the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in an actionable manner and fast-track research on the next generation of drugs.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: E. Coli.
  • For Mains: All about Antibiotic resistance.


Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


8th Theatre Olympics:

Context: Jaipur is all set to be one of the co-hosts of the 8th Theatre Olympics, the largest international theatre festival to be held for the first time in India.

Organizers: The Jaipur chapter of Theatre Olympics 2018 is organised by the National School of Drama (NSD) under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India in collaboration with Ravindra Manch Society and Art & Culture Department, Government of Rajasthan.

About Theatre Olympics:

  • The Theatre Olympics was established in 1993 in Delphi, Greece, on the initiative of the famous Greek theatre director, Theodoros Terzopoulos.
  • It is an international theatre festival, which is presenting some of the achievements of the greatest theatre practitioners from around the world.