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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 07 September 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 07 September 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 1:

  1. Indus Valley settlers had a distinct genetic lineage.
  2. Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme.


GS Paper 2:

  1. PMUY
  2. Unlawful activities (Prevention) Act.
  3. Indian Ocean Conference.


GS Paper 3:

  1. Foot-and-mouth disease.
  2. Chandrayaan-2.


Facts for Prelims:

  1. NCPCR
  2. Great Indian Bustards (GIB).



GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered:

  1. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.


Indus Valley settlers had a distinct genetic lineage


What to study?

For Prelims: Harappan sites, culture and features.

For Mains: Significance of their way of life, issues and recent findings.


Context: A study of DNA from skeletal remains excavated from the Harappan cemetery at Rakhigarhi argues that the hunter-gatherers of South Asia- people from Indus Valley Civilisation, who then became a settled people, have an independent origin


Findings of the study:

  1. Independent origin: The hunter-gatherers of South Asia had an independent origin. They do not contain genome from either the Steppe region or ancient Iranian farmers.
  2. The same hunter-gatherer communities developed into agricultural communities and formed the Harappan civilisation.
  3. As the Harappans traded with Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and almost all across South Asia, there was bound to be movement of people resulting in a mixed genetic history. India had a heterogeneous population right from the beginning of settled life.
  4. There was a movement of people from east to west as the Harappan people’s presence is evident at sites like Gonur in Turkmenistan and Sahr-i-Sokhta in Iran.
  5. Researchers find no trace of the Anatolian-related ancestry that is a hallmark of the spread of farming to the west, but the Iranian-related ancestry they detected in South Asians comes from a lineage that separated from ancient Iranian farmers and hunter-gatherers before those groups split from each other.


Background and significance of the study:

With these findings, the theory of the Harappans having Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmer ancestry thus stands refuted. The finding also negates the hypothesis about mass migration during Harappan times from outside South Asia.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics covered:

  1. Women related issues.
  2. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’


What to study?

For Prelims: BBBP.

For Mains: Declining CSR- concerns, challenges and solutions.


Context: WCD Minister Felicitates states and Districts Under BBBP Scheme.


Key facts:

  1. Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were felicitated for improvement in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB).
  2. Ten districts selected for improvement in SRB were also felicitated during the programme.


About BBBP:

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was launched in January, 2015.

The scheme is aimed at promoting gender equality and the significance of educating girls.

The Scheme is targeted at improving the Child Sex Ratio through multi sectoral interventions including prevention of gender biased sex selection and promoting girls’ education and her holistic empowerment.

It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.


Significance and the need for scheme:

  1. The trend of decline in the Child Sex Ratio (CSR) has been unabated since 1961. The decline from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 918 in 2011 is alarming. The social construct discrimination against girls on one hand, easy availability, affordability and subsequent misuse of diagnostic tools on the other hand, have been critical in increasing Sex Selective Elimination of girls leading to low Child Sex Ratio.
  2. Child Sex Ratiois defined as number of girls per 1000 of boys between 0-6 years of age. Hence, a decline in the CSR is a major indicator of women disempowerment. The ratio reflects both, pre-birth discrimination manifested through gender biased sex selection and post birth discrimination against girls.


Sources: pib.



GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.


 Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY)


What to study?

For Prelims: PMU- key features.

For Mains: PMUY- objectives, features, significance and measures needed to sustain the momentum.


Context: Release of 8 croreth PMUY connection by Prime Minister in Sendra, Aurangabad, Maharashtra.


Why large people in India still rely on solid fuels?

  1. Most people believe that food cooked on a chulha was healthier and tastier. In contrast, rotis cooked on gas cause indigestion.
  2. They also believecooking with solid fuels was healthy for the person cooking too: fumes purified the eyes because they caused tears, and in blowing into a traditional stove, a woman did kasrat (exercise).


What can policymakers do to achieve exclusive use of clean fuels in rural India?

Three strategies could work: communicating the harms of solid fuels and the benefits of cleaner fuels; reducing the cost of LPG cylinder refills in rural areas; and promoting gender equality within households, particularly in cooking and related tasks.


List of measures:

  1. A large anti-tobacco style campaign communicating that solid fuels harm respiratory health may change these beliefs. Similarly, advertisements that food cooked on gas can be as tasty and healthy as food cooked on a chulha would be helpful.
  2. Reducing LPG prices in rural areas, where residents are poorer and solid fuels are easier to access, would also help. One way is to build on the targeting experience of the National Food Security Act.
  3. Current Ujjwala messaging, which focuses on the benefits of clean fuels for women, reinforces inequality. Advertisements showing that gas is so good that even men can cook with it will challenge both misinformation on LPG and gender inequalities in household tasks.


About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

It aims to provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.

Who is eligible? Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

Identification of households: Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.


Key objectives of the scheme are:

  1. Empowering women and protecting their health.
  2. Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
  3. Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  4. Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.


What makes LPG adoption necessary?

  1. A large section of Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking.
  2. A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.
  3. According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India (measured as Disability-Adjusted Life Years), and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.


Need of the hour:

The PMUY is a bold and much-needed initiative, but it should be recognised that this is just a first step.

The real test of the PMUY and its successor programmes will be in how they translate the provision of connections to sustained use of LPG or other clean fuels such as electricity or biogas.

Truly smokeless kitchens can be realized only if the government follows up with measures that go beyond connections to actual usage of LPG. This may require concerted efforts cutting across Ministries beyond petroleum and natural gas and including those of health, rural development and women and child welfare.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.


Unlawful activities (Prevention) Act


What to study?

For prelims and mains: UAPA- features, significance, concerns over its misuse and need.


Context: The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to respond to petitions challenging its decision to amend the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act giving it powers to categorise anyone as a terrorist.

Petitions say Act confers govt with ‘discretionary, unfettered and unbound powers’ to categorise a person as a terrorist.


Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019:

  1. The Bill amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
  2. Who may commit terrorism:Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it: (i) commits or participates in acts of terrorism, (ii) prepares for terrorism, (iii) promotes terrorism, or (iv) is otherwise involved in terrorism.  The Bill additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.  
  3. Approval for seizure of property by NIA:If the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of properties that may be connected with terrorism.
  4. Investigation by NIA:Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.  The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  5. Insertion to schedule of treaties:The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.  The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).  The Bill adds another treaty to the list. This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).     


Why is it being opposed?

  1. It empowers officials to brand any person ‘a terrorist‘, without following due process.
  2. It does not provide any legal consequence in case an individual is designated a terrorist.
  3. The only statutory remedy available to such a person is to make an application before the Central Government for de-notification, which will be considered by a Review Committee constituted by the Government itself.
  4. An official designation as a terrorist will be akin to ‘civil death’ for a person, with social boycott, expulsion from job, hounding by media, and perhaps attack from self-proclaimed vigilante groups following.
  5. The law could target minorities or a section of people thereby affecting their cultural rights.
  6. Indefinite Imprisonment without Trial:Even if the person is eventually acquitted of the charges, the delays in conducting judicial proceedings mean the case may only get heard several years after their arrest – failure to get bail means they have to spend the entire time in jail.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics covered: 

  1. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Indian Ocean Conference


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Indian Ocean Conference and its significance.


Context: Fourth Indian Ocean Conference 2019 was recently held in Male, capital of Maldives.

Theme: ‘Securing the Indian Ocean Region: Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges’.


About Indian Ocean Conference:

Initiated by India Foundation along with its partners from Singapore, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

It is an annual effort to bring together Heads of States/Governments, Ministers, Thought Leaders, scholars, diplomats, bureaucrats and practitioners from across the region.


Why is the Indian Ocean important?

  1. It enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. This is particularly important in an era in which global shipping has burgeoned.
  2. Indian Ocean is also rich in natural resources. 40% of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin.
  3. Fishing in the Indian Ocean now accounts for almost 15% of the world’s total.
  4. Mineral resources are equally important, with nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron, and massive sulphide deposits of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold present in sizeable quantities on the sea bed.
  5. Indian Ocean coastal sediments are also important sources of titanium, zirconium, tin, zinc, and copper.
  6. Additionally, various rare earth elements are present, even if their extraction is not always commercially feasible.


Sources: the hindu.



GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. economics of animal-rearing.


Foot-and-mouth disease


What to study?

For Prelims: About the disease, it’s spread, symptoms and need for eradication.


Context: PM to launch National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease.

  • It is a 100% centrally funded programme, with a total outlay of Rs.12,652 crore from 2019 to 2024.
  • It aims to control Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by 2025 with vaccination and eventual eradication by 2030.


About Foot-and-mouth disease:

  1. It is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease.
  2. Affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids.
  3. Symptoms: The virus causes a high fever for two or three days, followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rupture and cause lameness.
  4. The virus responsible for the disease is a picornavirus, the prototypic member of the genus Aphthovirus.


Spread of the disease and Concerns associated:

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) has severe implications for animal farming, since it is highly infectious and can be spread by infected animals through aerosols, through contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, or feed, and by domestic and wild predators.


Can Humans be affected?

Humans can be infected with foot-and-mouth disease through contact with infected animals, but this is extremely rare. Some cases were caused by laboratory accidents. Because the virus that causes FMD is sensitive to stomach acid, it cannot spread to humans via consumption of infected meat, except in the mouth before the meat is swallowed. Symptoms of FMD in humans include malaise, fever, vomiting, red ulcerative lesions (surface-eroding damaged spots) of the oral tissues, and sometimes vesicular lesions (small blisters) of the skin.


Sources: pib.

Topics Covered:

  1. Awareness in space.



Context: The status of Chandrayaan 2 mission is unknown hours after Chandrayaan 2’s lander Vikram began final descent towards the moon and lost contact with ground control around 2.1 km from the lunar surface.


What is soft landing? How was it supposed to take place? Challenges therein?

  1. A soft-landing protects the object from impact while a hard landing doesn’t.
  2. Soft-landing ensures that the object is able to carry out further experimentation on the target planet or satellite, mostly with the help of a rover vehicle.
  3. Soft-landing on any planetary surface is complicated. Vikram was to use five thrusters — four at the corners and one at the centre to make its final descent.
  4. Maintaining the required velocity with such thrusters is difficult as a fine balance among them needs to be maintained.
  5. Then there is the issue of moon dust which could wreck the engines of the thrusters.

What was supposed to happen?

On the day of landing on September 7, the Vikram lander had to perform a series of complex manoeuvres, including imaging the landing site.

Vikram was supposed to begin its descent form a height of 35 km above the lunar surface and a velocity of around 6,000 kmph. In just over 10 minutes, the Vikram lander had to drop to a height of 7.4 km above the Moon altitude and lower its speed to around 526 kmph.

Further, the lander had to reduce its speed to 331.2 kmph and reach a height of 5 km above the lunar surface.

At 100 metres above the lunar surface, the Vikram lander had to hover for about 25 seconds during which it was supposed to choose between two pre-determined landing sites

Four hours after landing, the Pragyan rover would be unloaded from the Vikram lander.



The south polar region of the Moon has not received sunlight for billions of years and is among the coldest spots in the Solar System. This, Isro says, makes lunar south pole region ripe to contain tonnes of water and “an undisturbed record” of the Solar System’s origins.


Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


About NCPCR:

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

  • It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • Definition: The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
  • The Commission’s 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 also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Great Indian Bustards (GIB):

Why in News? Prepare plan for protection of the Great Indian Bustard: NGT.

Key facts:

  1. IUCN status: critically endangered.
  2. Found in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  3. Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.
  4. Identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitatsof the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  5. Project Great Indian Bustard — state of Rajasthan — identifying and fencing off bustard breeding grounds in existing protected areas as well as provide secure breeding enclosures in areas outside protected areas.
  6. Protected areas:Desert National Park Sanctuary — Rajasthan, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary– Madhya Pradesh.