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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 20 September 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 20 September 2019


Table of contents:


GS Paper 1:

  1. Sangam civilisation older than thought.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana.


GS Paper 2:

  1. Draft Social Security code.
  2. Report on Malnutrition.
  3. National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) Scheme.
  4. Gilgit-Baltistan.
  5. Scope for third party mediation in Kashmir.


Facts for prelims:

  1. SITMEX-19.
  2. Submarine Khanderi.
  3. Digital Payment Abhiyan.
  4. World Patient Safety Day.
  5. Tatpar app.
  6. What is a teaser loan?

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered:

Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Sangam civilisation older than thought


What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of Sangam period.

For Mains: Significance of Recent findings.


Context: Carbon samples collected from Keezhadi, the Sangam-era site, have been found to belong to 580 BC, according to accelerator mass spectrometry dating results

This suggests that the urbanisation of Vaigai plains happened earlier than thought – around the 6th century BC.


Key findings and revelations:

  1. Tamil Brahmi script originated in the 6th century BC. People were either literate or at least knew the art of writing as early as the 6th century BC.
  2. Literate society: Tamil Brahmi letters found were inscribed when the pot was wet or after the pot became dry. This clearly suggests literacy levels in the 6th century BC.
  3. Agrarian society that reared cattle: Skeletal fragments of cow/ox, buffalo, sheep, goat, nilgai, blackbuck, wild boar and peacock were found.
  4. Good quality materials used for building: The brick and roof tiles contained more than 80% silica mixed with 7% lime while lime plaster possessed 97% of lime.
  5. High standard of living: Long walls, Well-laid floors along with roof tiles in a collapsed state, iron nails fastened to the poles and rafters prove a high standard of living during the Sangam age.


Sources: the Hindu.


Topics covered:

  1. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues.
  2. 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.


Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana


What to study?

For prelims: Key Highlights of the PMMVY, funding and beneficiaries.

For mains: Performance of the scheme, how it has helped empower women, has it met its stated objectives? Why do we need such schemes?


Context: Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), a flagship scheme of the Government for pregnant women and lactating mothers has achieved a significant milestone by crossing one crore beneficiaries. The total amount disbursed to the beneficiaries under the scheme has crossed Rs. 4,000 crores.

Top five states in implementation: Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Rajasthan.


About PMMVY:

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit rechristened from erstwhile Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY). The IGMSY was launched in 2010.

  1. The scheme is a conditional cash transfer schemefor pregnant and lactating women.
  2. It provides a partial wage compensationto women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
  3. They receive a cash benefit of Rs. 5,000 in three installments on fulfilling the respective conditionality, viz. early registration of pregnancy, ante-natal check-up and registration of the birth of the child and completion of first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family.
  4. The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on an average, a woman gets Rs. 6,000.


Exceptions: The maternity benefits are available to all Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers (PW&LM)except those in regular employment with the Central Government or State Government or Public Sector Undertaking or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.

Funding: The scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which cost sharing ratio between the Centre and the States & UTs with Legislature is 60:40 while for North-Eastern States & three Himalayan States; it is 90:10. It is 100% Central assistance for Union Territories without Legislature.


Need for special attention:

Under-nutrition continues to adversely affect majority of women in India. In India, every third woman is undernourished and every second woman is anaemic.

An undernourished mother almost inevitably gives birth to a low birth weight baby. When poor nutrition starts in-utero, it extends throughout the life cycle since the changes are largely irreversible.

Owing to economic and social distress many women continue to work to earn a living for their family right up to the last days of their pregnancy.

They resume working soon after childbirth, even though their bodies might not permit it, thus preventing their bodies from fully recovering on one hand, and also impeding their ability to exclusively breastfeed their young infant in the first six months.


Sources: pib.

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. 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.


Draft Social Security code


What to study?

For Prelims: Higlights of the draft.

For Mains: need for and significance of the code.


Context: Draft social security code circulated.


Objectives of the draft:

  1. To amalgamate a clutch of existing laws and proposes several new initiatives including universal social security for unorganized sector workers and, insurance and health benefits for gig workers.
  2. To Corporatize of existing organizations like EPFO and ESIC headed by people other than the labour minister.


Key highlights of the draft:

  1. Insurance, PF, life cover for unorganized sector employees: Central Government shall formulate and notify, from time to time, suitable welfare schemes for unorganised workers on matter relating to life and disability cover; health and maternity benefits; old age protection; and any other benefit as may be determined by the central government.
  2. Corporatization of EPFO and ESIC: The pension, insurance and retirement saving bodies including EPFO and ESIC will be body corporate. Labour minister, labour secretary, the central PF commissioner and Director General of ESIC may not be by default the head of such organizations.
  3. Benefits for Gig workers: “Central Government may formulate and notify, from time to time, suitable social security schemes for gig workers and platform workers” and such schemes would encompass issues like “life and disability cover”, “health and maternity benefits” , “old age protection” and “any other benefit as may be determined by the Central Government”.
  4. Maternity Benfit: Subject to the other provisions of this Code, every woman shall be entitled to, and her employer shall be liable for, the payment of maternity benefit at the rate of the average daily wage for the period of her actual absence, that is to say, the period immediately preceding the day of her delivery, and any period immediately following that day.
  5. The Code on Social Security, 2019 once in place will merge eight exiting labour laws including Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923; Employees‘ State Insurance Act, 1948, Employees‘ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; Maternity Benefit Act, 1961; Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972; Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981; Building and Other Construction Workers Cess Act, 1996 and Unorganized Workers‘ Social Security Act, 2008.


Sources: Livemint.


Topics Covered:

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


Report on Malnutrition


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings of the report.

For Mains: Concerns, challenges and ways to address them.


Context: Report on the  first comprehensive estimate of disease burden due to child and maternal malnutrition and the trends of its indicators in every State from 1990 has been released.

It was published by India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative.


Key findings:

  1. Overall under-five death rate and the death rate due to malnutrition has decreased substantially from 1990 to 2017, but malnutrition is still the leading risk factor for death in children under five years, and is also the leading risk factor for disease burden for all ages considered together in most States.
  2. Disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rate attributable to malnutrition in children varies 7-fold among the States and is highest in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Nagaland and Tripura.
  3. Among the malnutrition indicators, low birth weight is the biggest contributor to disease burden followed by child growth failure which includes stunting, underweight and wasting.


State-wise data:

  • Incidence of low birth weight: 21 per cent in India in 2017, ranging from 9 per cent in Mizoram to 24 per cent in UP. The annual rate of reduction was 1.1 per cent in India between 1990 and 2017, ranging from 3.8 per cent in Sikkim to 0.3 per cent in Delhi.
  • Incidence of child stunting: Incidences of stunting among children was 39 per cent in India in 2017. This ranged from 21 per cent in Goa to 49 per cent in UP, and was generally the highest among socio-economically backward states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, MP and UP.
  • Incidence of children being underweight: In 2017, 33 per cent of the children in India were reportedly underweight, ranging from 16 per cent in Manipur to 42 per cent in Jharkhand. The annual rate of reduction was 3.2 per cent in India between 1990 and 2017, ranging from 5.4 per cent in Meghalaya to 1.8 per cent in Delhi.
  • The incidences of anaemia among children was 60 per cent in India in 2017, ranging from 21 per cent in Mizoram to 74 per cent in Haryana.
  • The annual rate of reduction was 1.8 per cent in India between 1990 and 2017, which varied from 8.3 per cent in Mizoram to no significant reduction in Goa.


Way ahead:

These findings highlight that there are wide variations in the malnutrition status between the States. It is important therefore to plan the reduction in malnutrition in a manner that is suitable for the trends and context of each State.


Facts for Prelims:

India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative is a joint initiative of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with experts and stakeholders associated with over 100 Indian institutions, involving many leading health scientists and policy makers from India.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) Scheme


What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the scheme, usage of technology for better learning outcomes.


Context: Ministry of HRD announces National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) Scheme for using better technology for better learning outcomes in Higher Education.

The objective is to use Artificial Intelligence to make learning more personalised and customised as per the requirements of the learner.


How it works?

  1. MHRD would act as a facilitator to ensure that the solutions are freely available to a large number of economically backward students.
  2. MHRD would create and maintain a National NEAT platform that would provide one-stop access to these technological solutions.
  3. EdTech companies would be responsible for developing solutions and manage registration of learners through the NEAT portal.
  4. They would be free to charge fees as per their policy.
  5. As their contribution towards the National cause, they would have to offer free coupons to the extent of 25% of the total registrations for their solution through NEAT portal.
  6. MHRD would distribute the free coupons for learning to the most socially/economically backward students.
  7. AICTE would be the implementing agency for NEAT programme.


Sources: Pib.

Topics Covered:

India and its neighbourhood- relations.




What to study?

For Prelims: Location of Gilgit- Baltistan, eigth thousanders.

For Mains: Controversy over the administration of the region, India’s concerns, viable solution.


Context: Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement in the Parliament has sufficiently amplified India’s broadened vision that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir including the so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) belong to India.


Where is Gilgit Baltistan located?

Located in the northern Pakistan. It borders China in the North, Afghanistan in the west, Tajikistan in the north west and Kashmir in the south east.

It shares a geographical boundary with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India considers it as part of the undivided Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan sees it as a separate from PoK.  

It has a regional Assembly and an elected Chief Minister.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also passes through this region.

Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the “eight-thousanders” and to more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft)

Three of the world’s longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan.


How Pakistan took over it?

  1. The British sold it, along with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, to the Dogra ruler of Jammu, Gulab Singh, after defeating the Sikh army in 1846, but retained controlled over the area through a lease extracted from the Maharaja.
  2. This lease was last renewed in 1935. In 1947, a British army officer of the rank of Colonel imprisoned Maharaja Hari Singh’s governor in the region, and handed over the area for accession to Pakistan.


Recent developments:

Pakistan, in 2017, proposed to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as its fifth Province.


Impediments ahead:

  1. Gilgit- Baltistan is part of J&K and any such move would seriously damage Pakistan’s Kashmir case. Two UN resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 clearly established a link between GB and the Kashmir issue.
  2. Making the region its fifth province would thus violate the Karachi Agreement — perhaps the only instrument that provides doubtful legal authority to Pakistan’s administration of GB — as well as the UN resolutions that would damage its position on the Kashmir issue.
  3. Any such move would also be violative of the 1963 Pak-China Boundary Agreementthat calls for the sovereign authority to reopen negotiations with China “after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India” and of the 1972 Simla Agreement that mentions that “neither side shall unilaterally alter the situation”.


Sources: the hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Scope for third party mediation in Kashmir


What to study? 

For Prelims: Various bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan.

For mains: Mediation in Kashmir issue- do we need it? India’s opposition and what is the way out?


Context: India has reiterated that there is no scope for third party intervention in the Kashmir issue.


What is mediation?

Both in international law and diplomacy, mediation often denotes a ‘friendly interference’ of a neutral state in the controversies of other nations, with the objective of using its influence to ‘adjust their difficulties’.


Previous instances of mediation:

  1. Indus Water treaty: Both nations were able to reach agreements through third party mediators in case of the Indus Waters Treaty and the negotiations on the Rann of Kutch dispute.
  2. Rann of Kutch Accord (mediated by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson) persuaded the combatants to end hostilities and establish a tribunal to resolve the dispute.
  3. During the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war,the then USSR led mediation efforts paved the way for India and Pakistan to withdraw forces from each other’s territories while agreeing to discuss all future matters. This was followed by signing of the Tashkent Declaration in Uzbekistan.


Why India’s reluctance to third-party intervention on the issue is justified?

Mediation has no chance of working better than bilateral agreements, like the Simla Agreement of 1972 that both sides agreed to respect.

From India’s stand point Kashmir remains an internal problem.

Third parties could use their might to impose a solution on Kashmir that might go contrary to India’s stated position.



Principles of state sovereignty and non-interference dictate that mediation needs not be imposing. It can be beneficial, non-coercive and compatible with the structures of international system. We already have a historical precedent to it.


Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for prelims:



Context: Sea Phase of maiden SITMEX-19 (Singapore India Thailand Maritime Exercise), between Indian Navy, Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) recently commenced in the Andaman Sea.


Submarine Khanderi:

Context: Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited delivers second Scorpene submarine“KHANDERI” to Indian Navy.

Key facts:

Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai, is manufacturing six Scorpene submarines under technology transfer from Naval Group of France under a 2005 contract worth $3.75 bn. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2020.

  • The submarine ‘KHANDERI’ is named after the wide snouted Saw fish, a deadly sea predator of the great Indian Ocean.
  • The first Submarine Khanderi was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 06th December 1968 and decommissioned on 18thOctober 1989 after more than 20 years of yeoman service to the nation.
  • Names of upcoming submarines: Karanj, Vela, Vagir and Vagsheer.


Digital Payment Abhiyan:

Nasscom’s Data Security Council of India (DSCI) has collaborated with Union Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Google India to launch nationwide awareness campaign ‘Digital Payment Abhiyan’.

  • It aims at increasing awareness about cashless payment, educate end-users on the benefits of making digital payments, online financial security and urge them to adopt security and safety best practices.
  • It is pan-India campaign crafted in seven languages — Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.
  • It will engage with users and make them aware of the dos and don’ts for different payment channels including UPI, wallets, cards as well as netbanking and mobile banking.


September 17- World Patient Safety Day:

The first World Patient Safety Day was observed by World Health Organisation (WHO) on September 17.

It aims to create awareness around patient safety and urge people to show commitment to making healthcare safer.

Theme– ‘Patient Safety: a global health priority’ and slogan is ‘Speak up for patient safety’.


Tatpar app:

Delhi Police has launched Tatpar app to provide safety and a convenient 24×7 online mode to its citizens.

The app brings together all the websites and mobile applications of the Delhi Police and over 50 services. 


What is a teaser loan?

Teaser loan is an unofficial term used for loans that offer low, fixed interest rates in the initial few years, but switch to floating rates thereafter.

Why in News? RBI is not likely to allow the return of teaser home loans, following the introduction of the external benchmark-linked loan pricing.