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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 01 October 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 01 October 2019


Table of contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. National Nutrition Survey.
  2. School Education Quality Index (SEQI).
  3. Electoral Bond Scheme.
  4. Penicillin to fight rheumatic fever.

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Sovereign Gold Bond scheme.
  2. Enterprise Development Centres (EDCs).

 

Facts for prelims:

  1. National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC).
  2. BRAHMOS Supersonic Cruise Missile.
  3. Ancient buried river.

 


 

GS Paper 2:

 

Topics Covered:

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

 

National Nutrition Survey

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features and findings of the survey.

For Mains: Significance, concerns expressed and ways to address them.

 

Context: With the help of UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently conducted the first-ever comprehensive National Nutrition Survey.

The survey recorded malnutrition that included micronutrient deficiencies and details of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and kidney function in children and adolescents.

 

Key findings of the survey:

  1. Around 10% of children in the age group of 5 to 9 years and adolescents in the age group 10 to 19 years are pre – diabetic. 5% of them were overweight and 5% suffered from blood pressure.
  2. The survey for the first time proved the coexistence of obesity and under nutrition.
  3. One in five children in the age group 5 to 9 years were stunted.
  4. Tamil Nadu and Goa had the highest number of adolescents who were obese or overweight.

 

Steps Taken by Government of India to curb incidences of Malnutrition:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY): Rs.6,000 is transferred directly to the bank accounts of pregnant women for availing better facilities for their delivery.
  2. POSHAN Abhiyaan: aims to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight babies through synergy and convergence among different programmes, better monitoring and improved community mobilisation.
  3. National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, aims to ensure food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable through its associated schemes and programmes, making access to food a legal right.
  4. Mid-day Meal (MDM) schemeaims to improve nutritional levels among school children which also has a direct and positive impact on enrolment, retention and attendance in schools.

The United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition:

On 1 April 2016, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed 2016–2025 the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition

Led by WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition calls for policy action across 6 key areas:

  1. creating sustainable, resilient food systems for healthy diets;
  2. providing social protection and nutrition-related education for all;
  3. aligning health systems to nutrition needs, and providing universal coverage of essential nutrition interventions;
  4. ensuring that trade and investment policies improve nutrition;
  5. building safe and supportive environments for nutrition at all ages; and
  6. strengthening and promoting nutrition governance and accountability, everywhere.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Mains Question: With India’s double whammy of under nutrition co-existing with equally high and increasing rates of over nutrition, there is a pressing need for reshaping India’s nutrition policy with a focus on diet-related diseases. Discuss.


Topics Covered:

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

 

School Education Quality Index (SEQI) 

 

What to study?

For Prelims: About the index, indicators and key findings.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the index, challenges present in the sector and ways to address them.

 

Context: NITI Aayog releases the first edition of School Education Quality Index (SEQI).

 

About the School Education Quality Index (SEQI):

  1. Developed by NITI Aayog to evaluate the performance of States and Union Territories (UTs) in the school education sector.
  2. Aim: To bring an ‘outcomes’ focus to education policy by providing States and UTs with a platform to identify their strengths and weaknesses and undertake requisite course corrections or policy interventions.
  3. The index is developed through a collaborative process, including key stakeholders such as Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD), the World Bank and sector experts.

 

It consists of 30 critical indicators that assess the delivery of quality education. These indicators are categorized as below:

Category 1: Outcomes;

  1. Domain 1: Learning outcomes
  2. Domain 2: Access outcomes
  3. Domain 3: Infrastructure and facilities for outcomes
  4. Domain 4: Equity outcomes

Category 2: Governance processes aiding outcomes.

 

Significance of the index:

Schooling should result in successful learning outcomes. In this regard, SEQI acts as a credible system of assessment and helps to design necessary remedial actions. 

 

How are they ranked?

  1. To facilitate a like-for-like comparison, States and UTs have been grouped as Large States, Small States and UTs.
  2. States’ and UTs’ performance on Learning Outcomes is driven by their results on the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2017.
  3. Their performance on Access Outcomes is primarily driven by enrolment ratios at the secondary level and transition rates from upper-primary to secondary level.
  4. In terms of Infrastructure & Facilities for Outcomes, States’ and UTs’ performance is strongly linked to the presence of Computer Aided-Learning (CAL) at the elementary level and vocational education at the secondary and senior-secondary level.

 

Performance of various states:

  1. Kerala has emerged on top among 20 large states in terms of quality of school education, followed by Rajasthan and Karnataka, while the most-populous Uttar Pradesh was ranked at the bottom position during 2016-17.
  2. Among 20 large states in the country 18 have improved their overall performance between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, which is otherwise referred to as the incremental performance in the report.
  3. The highest incremental performance has been recorded in Kerala. As against 77.6% score in 2015-2016, the state has recorded 82.2% in 2016-2017.
  4. The overall performance has declined in Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
  5. All seven union territories have shown an improvement in their overall performance scores.
  6. The performance and ranks have decreased in Mizoram, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

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

 

Electoral Bond Scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of Electoral Bonds and highlights of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance of the scheme, benefits and concerns associated.

 

Context: Sale of Electoral Bonds at Authorised Branches of State Bank of India (SBI).

 

About Electoral bonds:

What are electoral bonds? Bonds that allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary.

 

Key features: 

  1. Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest.
  2. It will be a bearer instrument.
  3. It will not carry the name of the payee.
  4. It can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.

 

Eligibility:

  1. May be purchased by a citizen of India, or entities incorporated or established in India.
  2. A person being an individual can buy electoral bonds, either singly or jointly with other individuals. 
  3. Only the registered Political Parties which have secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last Lok Sabha elections or the State Legislative Assembly are eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds.

 

Need:

The electoral bonds are aimed at rooting out the current system of largely anonymous cash donations made to political parties which lead to the generation of black money in the economy.

 

How will the Bonds help?

  1. Encourage political donations of clean money from individuals, companies, HUF, religious groups, charities, etc.
  2. After purchasing the bonds, these entities can hand them to political parties of their choice, which must redeem them within the prescribed time.

 

Why is there a controversy?

  1. The introduction of the electoral bond scheme is part of what appears to be a growing trend away from transparency and accountability, two values which were already sparse in relation to Indian political parties.
  2. Opponents to the scheme allege that since the identity of the donor of electoral bonds has been kept anonymous, it could lead to an influx of black money.
  3. Others allege that the scheme was designed to help big corporate houses donate money without their identity being revealed.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

  1. Issues related to health.

Penicillin to fight rheumatic fever

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Role of Penicillin in fighting rheumatic fever.

 

Context: The government is planning on the revival of Penicillin in a bid to fight against drug resistance and to tackle rheumatic heart disease.

 

Penicillin:

  1. Penicillin is one of the oldest antibiotics known to man and is still effective in many cases as not many organisms have developed resistance to it yet.
  2. Discovered in 1928.
  3. Penicillin went out of production in India as a result of unrealistic price control.

 

What is Rheumatic fever?

  1. It is endemic in India.
  2. It remains to be one of the major causes of the cardiovascular disease which accounts for nearly 25 to 45 per cent of acquired heart disease.
  3. Though, not all sore throats become rheumatic fever with severe joint pain or end up in rheumatic heart disease.
  4. Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which the heart is affected by a disease that eventually leaves no option but to replace the heart valves.

 

What next?

The government is planning to procure Penicillin centrally for a minimum of 3 years and give it to all children aged between 5 years to 15 years suffering from a sore throat, at least once.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

 

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Sovereign Gold Bond scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Features of the SGB scheme.

For Mains: The scheme and its significance for India.

 

Context: Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds.

The Bonds will be sold through Scheduled Commercial banks (except Small Finance Banks and Payment Banks), Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices, and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange Limited.

 

About the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme:

  1. The sovereign gold bond was introduced by the Government in 2015.
  2. Government introduced these bonds to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports.
  3. The move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.

 

Key facts:

Eligibility: The bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities, including individuals, HUFs, trusts, universities and charitable institutions.

Denomination and tenor: The bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram. The tenor will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from the 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.

Minimum and Maximum limit: The minimum permissible investment limit will be 1 gram of gold, while the maximum limit will be 4 kg for individual, 4 kg for HUF and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the government from time to time.

Joint Holder: In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 4 kg will be applied to the first applicant only.

Collateral: Bonds can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.

Tenor: The tenor of the Bond will be for a period of 8 years with exit option after 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.

Interest rate: The investors will be compensated at a fixed rate of 2.50 percent per annum payable semi-annually on the nominal value.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

  1. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Enterprise Development Centres (EDCs)

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: What are EDCs, need and significance.

 

Context: Union micro, small and medium enterprises sector (MSME) ministry is planning to launch enterprise development centres (EDCs) in every district.

 

What are EDCs?

Aimed at developing a cadre of indigenous entrepreneurs in the MSMEs, the EDCs will be similar to incubators for start-ups.

They shall be run by special purpose vehicles in partnership with the private sector, business management organisations, local industry associations.

 

Key features, roles and functions of EDCs:

  1. Offer “enterprise development courses, vocational guidance and skill development for budding entrepreneurs”.
  2. Have “enterprise clinics” for struggling firms, which the government hopes will reduce the number of small businesses falling into a debt trap financed by bank loans.
  3. Offer credit facilitation and syndication, export promotion and supplier inclusion.
  4. Incentives and loans by the government for the sector will also flow through the EDCs, after determining the capabilities of the firm through set parameters.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for prelims:

 

National Crisis Management Committee(NCMC):

  • For effective implementation of relief measures in the wake of natural calamities, the Government of India has set up a National Crisis Management Committee.
  • Cabinet Secretary is it’s Chairman.
  • Other members: Secretaries of all the concerned Ministries /Departments as well as organizations are the members of the Committee.
  • The NCMC gives direction to the Crisis Management Group as deemed necessary.

 

BrahMos Missile.

  1. It flies almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8 and has a range of 290 km.
  2. The missile has been jointly developed with Russia and is named after the rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva in Russia.
  3. It is extremely difficult to be intercepted by surface to air missiles deployed on leading warships around the world.
  4. The range of the BrahMos missile can be extended up to 400 km as certain technical restrictions were lifted after India became a full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime or MTCR in 2016.
  5. It is a multiplatform e it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missilewith pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions.

 

Ancient buried river:

  • The Union Water Ministry has excavated an old, dried-up river in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) that linked the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
  • The “ancient buried river” is around 4 km wide, 45 km long and consisted of a 15-metre-thick layer buried under soil.
  • The newly discovered river was a “buried paleochannel that joins the Yamuna river at Durgapur village, about 26 km south of the current Ganga-Yamuna confluence at Prayagraj.