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Table of Contents:


GS Paper 1:

1. National Girl Child Day (NGCD).


GS Paper 2:

1. Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal.

2. What is a vaccine-derived poliovirus?

3. What is shamlat land?

4. NISHTHA– National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement.

5. US imposes new ‘birth tourism’ visa rules for pregnant women.


Facts for Prelims:

1. Archaea

2. Hemorrhagic septicemia.

3. Sagarmatha Sambaad.


GS Paper  : 1


Topics Covered: Women related issues. Welfare schemes for the protection of vulnerable sections of the society.

National Girl Child Day (NGCD)

What to study?

For Prelims: About NGCD- objectives, theme and significance, BBBP-key features.

For Mains: BBBP significance, challenges to the development of girl child in the country, measures needed.

What? National Girl Child Day (NGCD) was observed on 24th January with objectives of generating awareness on the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and create a positive environment around valuing the girl child.

The programme also observed anniversary of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme.


National Girl Child Day was first initiated in 2008.


  1. To increase the consciousness of the people and offer new opportunities to the girl child in the society.
  2. To remove all the inequalities faced by the girl child.
  3. To ensure that the girl child should get all their human rights, respect and value in the country.
  4. To work regarding gender discrimination, to educate people.

About BBBP:

Launch and expansion: Launched in January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana. All India Expansion of BBBP covering all 640 districts (as per Census 2011) was launched at Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan on 8th March 2018.

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


It is a Central Sector Scheme with 100% financial assistance for District level component and the fund are directly released to the DC/DM’s account for smooth operation of the Scheme.


  • Main Objective of the scheme is to address the declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and related issues of empowerment of women over a life-cycle continuum.
  • The specific objectives of the scheme include preventing gender biased sex selective elimination; ensuring survival and protection of the girl child and ensuring education and participation of the girl child.

Sources: pib.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal

What to study?

For prelims: Geographical location of SYL canal and associated rivers.

For mains: Dispute over the construction of this canal, concerns and what needs to be done?

Context: Punjab Says No Surplus Water To Share, Haryana Hits Back.

Punjab has also demanded that suitable amendments be made to the proposed Inter State River Water Disputes Act to set up a new tribunal, to ensure that Punjab gets adequate water “in a just and equitable manner in keeping with its total demand and securing livelihood of the future generations.”

Meanwhile, Haryana has said that the Supreme Court decision on the Sutlej Yamuna link (SYL) canal issue will come soon because in the previous execution order, it was stated that the issue should be resolved amicably.

What is the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, and the controversy over it?

Historical background:

  1. The creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966threw up the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.
  2. Punjab was opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beas with Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.
  3. Dragging_on_for_Decads
  4. However, Centre, in 1976, issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.
  5. The Eradi Tribunalheaded by Supreme Court Judge V Balakrishna Eradi was set up to reassess availability and sharing of water. The Tribunal, in 1987, recommended an increase in the shares of Punjab and Haryana to 5 MAF and 3.83 MAF, respectively.

The canal:

To enable Haryana to use its share of the waters of the Sutlej and its tributary Beas, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned.

tripartite agreement was also negotiated between Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan in this regard.

The Satluj Yamuna Link Canal is a proposed 214-kilometer long canal to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. However, the proposal met obstacles and was referred to the Supreme Court. It defines river water sharing between Punjab and Haryana.


Haryana has been seeking the completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre-feet of river waters. It has maintained that Punjab should comply with the 2002 and 2004 Supreme Court orders in this regard. Haryana is getting 1.62 million acre-feet of the Ravi-Beas waters.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:  Issues related to Health.

What is a vaccine-derived poliovirus?

What to study?

For Prelims: Polio- symptoms, spread and prevention, vaccine- derived poliovirus?

For Mains: Recurrence- concerns and challenges, ways to address them.

Context: In the last one year or so, polio has made a comeback in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Ghana, Myanmar, China, Cameroon, Indonesia and Iran, mostly as vaccine-derived polio infection. All these countries had wiped the virus out at various times during the last couple of decades.

What is a vaccine-derived poliovirus?

It is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus.

This means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an infected person. These viruses may cause illness, including paralysis.

How is it spread?

  1. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) contains an attenuated (weakened) vaccine-virus, activating an immune response in the body. When a child is immunized with OPV, the weakened vaccine-virus replicates in the intestine for a limited period, thereby developing immunity by building up antibodies.
  2. During this time, the vaccine-virus is also excreted. In areas of inadequate sanitation, this excreted vaccine-virus can spread in the immediate community (and this can offer protection to other children through ‘passive’ immunization), before eventually dying out.

What’s the issue here?

A circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) occur when routine or supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) are poorly conducted and a population is left susceptible to poliovirus, whether from vaccine-derived or wild poliovirus. Hence, the problem is not with the vaccine itself, but low vaccination coverage. If a population is fully immunized, they will be protected against both vaccine-derived and wild polioviruses.

Where does India stand?

In January 2014, India was declared polio-free after three years on zero cases.

In 2018, there was a brief scare when some vials of the polio vaccine were found contaminated with the polio 2 virus that had been eradicated from the country in 1999. However, WHO quickly issued a statement saying that all vaccines used in the government programme in India were safe.

The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on January 13, 2011.

How should India be prepared?

It calls for heightened vigilance, in short. Some years ago, India introduced the injectable polio vaccine in the Universal Immunisation Programme. This was to reduce chances of vaccine-derived polio infection, which continues to happen in the country. If both wild and vaccine-derived polio infection are reduced to zero, it would mean there is no trace left of the virus anywhere in the world, except in controlled situations in laboratories for future contingencies.

What is Polio?

It is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.


Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

What is shamlat land?

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning and features.

For Mains: Concerns over recent changes and ways to address them.

Context: Punjab state Cabinet recently approved an amendment to the Village Common Land (Regulation) Rules, 1964, allowing panchayats to sell shamlat land to industrial houses, entrepreneurs, businessmen, and companies for setting up micro, small and medium industrial units.

The underlying objective is to facilitate the “gram panchayats” to promote development of villages by unlocking the value of such land and transfer it for industrial projects to the Industry department and the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC).

What is shamlat land?

Three categories of common land in Punjab villages are:

  1. Shamlat’ land is owned by the village panchayat.
  2. ‘Jumla mushtraka malkan’ is land in a common pool made with villagers’ personal contributions, and is managed by the panchayat.
  3. ‘Gau charan’, too belongs to the panchayat, and is for cattle grazing.

Shamlat land is mainly used for cultivation, and is allotted for this through an open auction that is conducted by the Rural Development and Panchayat Department every year.

What’s the issue now?

Various organisations in Punjab have been protesting against this revised land policy relating to ‘shamlat’ land.

One-third of Punjab’s shamlat lands are reserved for Dalits. Around 25,000 to 26,000 families in the state, mostly Dalits, depend on this land for their livelihood.

The recent government move has sparked fears of unemployment.

Sources: Indian Express.


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

In News PIB- NISHTHA– National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement

What to study?

For prelims: Key features of the initiative.

For mains: Need for and significance.


  • NISHTHA is the world’s largest teachers’ training programme of its kind in the world.
  • It has been launched to improve Learning Outcomes at the Elementary level.
  • The basic objective of this massive training programme is to motivate and equip teachers to encourage and foster critical thinking in students.
  • The initiative is first of its kind wherein standardized training modules are developed at national level for all States and UTs. However, States and UTs can contextualize the training modules and use their own material and resource persons also, keeping in view the core topics and expected outcomes of NISHTHA.

The prominent features of this integrated programme are:

Activity based modules including educational games and quizzes, Social-emotional learning, motivational interactions, team building, preparation for school based assessment, in-built continuous feedback mechanism, online monitoring and support system, training need and impact analysis (Pre and Post training).

Expected outcomes: 

  1. Teachers will get awareness and develop their skills on various aspects related to Learning Outcomes, Competency Based Learning and Testing, Learner-centered Pedagogy, School Safety and Security etc.
  2. This integrated programme aims to build the capacities of around 42 lakh participants covering all teachers and Heads of Schools at the elementary level in all Government schools, faculty members of State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs), District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) as well as Block Resource Coordinators and Cluster Resource Coordinators in all States and UTs.

Need and necessity for such programmes:

  1. Teachers today are also expected to be aware of the provisions regarding Gender, The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
  2. The integrated programme therefore seeks to train all heads and teachers as first level counsellors to be alert and responsive to the needs of the students, in addition to promoting joyful learning and taking special care of the requirements of special children.

Sources: the Hindu.


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

US imposes new ‘birth tourism’ visa rules for pregnant women

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the new rule, key features.

For Mains: Need for, significance and concerns.

Context: The US Department of State has unveiled new rules to deter pregnant women from travelling to the US to give birth.

The policy is intended as a crackdown on what is known as “birth tourism“.

Present scenario:

Currently, pregnant women can enter the US even up until birth, according to US Customs and Border Protection. But the prospective mother’s travel may be restricted if there is reason to believe she intends to remain in the US beyond the time allowed by her visa, or plans for US taxpayers to foot the bill for her childbirth.

Need for the new policy?

Nearly all children born in the US gets automatic citizenship – a law US President Donald Trump has criticised. His administration says the new travel policy is necessary to safeguard US national security and public health.

What is the new rule?

  1. The new rule applies to visitors seeking B visas, which are issued to non-immigrants.
  2. Under the rule, pregnant women applying for US visitor visas may need to prove they have a specific reason for travel other than giving birth on US soil.
  3. It allows consular officials to deny a visa to any individual whose “primary purpose” in obtaining such documentation is to give birth there.


The rule addresses concerns about the attendant risks of this activity to national security and law enforcement, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry, as reflected in federal prosecutions of individuals and entities involved in that industry.

How many children are born under ‘birth tourism’?

There are no records of how many babies are born to US visitors each year, but various groups have issued estimates.

  • About 10,000 babies were born to a foreign resident in 2017, the latest year that data is available, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • That number is up from about 7,800 in 2007.

Sources: the Hindu.


Facts for Prelims:



  • They are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes.
  • These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut, and have a potential relationship with human health.
  • They are known for producing antimicrobial molecules, and for anti-oxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment.

Why in News?

Scientists have reported a new archaeon (a kind of microorganism), which they discovered in Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan. 

It has been named Natrialba swarupiae, after Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology.


Hemorrhagic septicemia:

  • It is a severe bacterial disease caused by certain strains.
  • The disease is also spread through contact with infected animals, contaminated clothing, equipment, and through ingestion or inhalation of the bacteria.
  • Primary symptoms include swishing tails, reduced cudding, undigested food in faeces and reduced milk yield.

Why in News? Around 40 buffaloes have died within four days due to suspected Sahana disease (hemorrhagic septicemia) in a number of villages located in the Garadapur block of Odisha’s Kendrapara.


Sagarmatha Sambaad:

  • It is the first-ever multi-stakeholder dialogue event in Nepal’s recent history, to be held in April.
  • It will be attended by many global figures apart from the leaders of the member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
  • It is expected to be the biggest diplomatic initiative.