Comprehensive News Analysis – 18 April 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:

HISTORY

1. A walk down the battlefields of history

B. GS2 Related:

POLITY

1. SC raps States on massive police vacancies

2. Plea against pre-censorship of films

3. Telangana Cabinet clears bill to increase quotas for STs, Muslims

4. Narendra Modi hints at rules for doctors to prescribe generic drugs

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Canberra keen on joining naval games

C. GS3 Related:

ECONOMICS

1. Protect IP to find new cures

2. Energy: going where the wind blows

3. Indian Railways draft policy aims at boosting tourism

ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. ‘Smart glasses’ that mimic eye’s lens

2. Indian firm’s Zika virus vaccine 100% efficient in animal trials

D. GS4 Related:
E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn
F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
H. Archives

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Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs


A. GS1 Related

Category: HISTORY

1. A walk down the battlefields of history

What’s in news?

  • A group of NCC cadets re-enacted the Battle of Adyar, which took place on the banks of the Adyar Estuary in October 1746
  • The enactment and heritage walk was organised by the Colours of Glory Foundation in association with the directorate of NCC (Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar)
  • About the battle: In the battle, the forces of the Nawab of Arcot took on the French Army, which consisted of 700 sepoys or Indian soldiers trained in modern warfare by the French and 300 Europeans
  • The French force of 1,000 men landed in Tiruvanmiyur beach from Puducherry and was commanded by a Swiss engineer officer Captain Louis Pardis and had to face off against the strong force of nearly 10,000 men of the Nawab of Arcot which was camping on the banks of the Adyar estuary
  • Historians have described it as a milestone as organised warfare made an entry here
  • The battle was the first of its kind here and this form of warfare laid a lot of emphasis on discipline and training which is what enabled the French side to win
  • The forces of the Nawab had most probably set up a camp at the location which presently houses the Quibble island cemetery and that the French forces crossed the water in the estuary, braving the firing and confronting them with bayonets
  • The sepoy levy system, which the French used in this battle, was emulated much later by the British and led to the creation of the Indian Army as it stands today 
 

B. GS2 Related
Category: POLITY

1. SC raps States on massive police vacancies

Context

  • SC was hearing the 2013 petition which claimed that law and order situation in the country was deteriorating due to a large number of vacancies in police services at all levels across States

Supreme Court

  • Sought the personal appearance of home secretaries or authorised joint secretaries of six States together with a definite roadmap to fill up the long-pending vacancies in the States’ police forces.
  • The court found that Uttar Pradesh has 1.51 lakh vacancies, West Bengal with 37,325, Karnataka has 24,899, Jharkhand 26,303, Bihar 34,500 and Tamil Nadu has 19,803 posts vacant

2. Plea against pre-censorship of films

Petition: Filed by cine veteran Amol Palekar that pre-censorship of films is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression of both film-makers and the public

Supreme Court

  • SC asked the Centre and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to respond on the petition
  • Also asked govt to act on a recommendation of Shyam Benegal Panel that the Censor Board’s role should be confined to film certification alone
  • Criticism of the present framework (petitioner): It is challenging the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983 which in turn imposes pre-censorship on the freedom of speech and expression of the artistes as well as the audience
  • Aggrieved by the provisions granting the power of ordering cuts, deletions, alterations in a film along with the abuse of power while exercising the powers given by the said Act and Rules while certifying and/or denying certification to any applicant film

Times changed

  • The social fabric and means of communication have undergone a sea change since the Supreme Court passed an order in 1970, apparently validating censorship in films on the ground that cinema was the most influential media of mass communication

Internet era

  • Rules have to change for the present day when Internet and social media dominate
  • When content on television and Internet is free of censorship, the same content being altered, cut or deleted before being shown in a cinema hall is an attack on our right to equality
  • Today modern technology makes dissemination of information available in real time through a variety of media, many of which are either not regulated or if regulated, not subjected to pre-censorship

CBFC

  • Absence of a member with a legal background in the CBFC often leads the board to repeatedly violate film-makers’ fundamental right to speech and expression

3. Telangana Cabinet clears bill to increase quotas for STs, Muslims

What’s in news?

  • A bill which seeks to increase the reservations for Scheduled Tribes and backward sections among the Muslim community in government jobs and educational institutions- Both the houses of Telangana Legislature have cleared it.
  • The Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 2017 was cleared amid opposition from many MLAs.

Key facts

  • Under the bill, quota for STs will be increased to 10% from the existing 6%, while that for BC-E category (the backward sections among the Muslim community) will go up to 12% from the existing 4%.
  • The total reservations in the state, consequently, will go up to 62% from the existing 50%.

What necessitated this move?

  • The state defends its move by saying that “after the bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh state, the percentage of Muslims in Telangana has gone up and 90% of them are poor and socially backward.”

Background

  • The Sudhir Commission which was set up to take stock of the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims observed in its report that in Telangana, following the general trend across India, the proportion of Muslim employees had fallen. The commission’s report observed that Muslim employees were just 7.36 per cent of the total workforce in the state.

Way ahead:

  • The reservation exceeds the Supreme Court’s 50% ceiling for such benefits. Now, the Centre has to include the bill in the 9th schedule of Constitution to grant it immunity from a judicial review.

4. Narendra Modi hints at rules for doctors to prescribe generic drugs

Prime Minister: Indicated that the govt may bring in a legal framework under which doctors will have to prescribe generic medicines, which are cheaper than equivalent branded drugs, to patients

Issue

  • Doctors write prescriptions in such a way that poor people do not understand the handwriting, and he has to buy that medicine from private stores at high prices
  • In our country doctors are less, hospitals are less and medicines are expensive
  • If one person falls ill in a middle class family, then the financial health of the family gets wrecked
  • He cannot buy a house, cannot conduct the marriage of daughter
  • It is the government’s responsibility that everybody should get health services at minimal price
  • Steps taken: National Health Policy 2017
  • The prices of 700 medicines were capped so that poor people get medicines at reasonable rates when they face grave diseases
  • Also capped the prices of stents used in heart ailments

Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Pariyojna– where people get generic medicines from stores at reasonable rates.

 

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Canberra keen on joining naval games

What’s in news?

  • Australia is keen on joining the Malabar trilateral naval exercises among India, Japan and the U.S., and has requested observer status at the upcoming edition, scheduled for July
  • Australia had been a part of the exercises in 2007
  • But a sharp response from China, which saw the joint exercises as a coalition against it, put an end to the quadrilateral format
  • The Malabar drills, which began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S., has since grown in scope and complexity, acquiring considerable heft in recent times
  • In 2015, it was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan

 


C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMICS

1. Protect IP to find new cures

Progress in pharma industry

  • The research-based pharmaceutical industry continues to lead the development of innovative treatments and cures
  • Globally, this industry invested $58.8 billion in R&D in 2015
  • Through such significant investments, researchers and scientists have gained a better understanding of diseases and a greater ability to harness new scientific advances
  • This has led to tremendous progress in the development of new treatments for some of the most debilitating diseases
  • More than 7,000 medicines are in development around the world
  • The value of a medicine is directly related to value it brings to patients
  • Globally, patients are living longer, healthier and more productive lives

Cancer

  • New therapies have contributed to significant declines in cancer mortality rates since its peak in 1991
  • Global Health Estimates 2015 for South Asia (compiled by World Bank for the WHO): Of the almost 12.4 million who died from all causes, more than 7.5 million people died from non-communicable diseases, compared with just over 3.5 million from communicable diseases. Cancer accounted for more than a million
  • A 2008 study revealed that approximately 83% of survival gains in cancer are attributable to new treatments
  • Hepatitis C virus: It is now curable in more than 90% of patients with only 8-12 weeks of treatment. In the ’80s, the cure rate was about 5%
  • In the 1990s, patients were treated with Interferon to destroy the hepatitis C virus-containing liver cells; combining it with Ribavirin raised the cure rates to more than 50%
  • The investment in R&D for treatments in Hepatitis B and C continue to strengthen the WHO vision to eliminate these diseases by 2030.

World Economic Forum

  • Unless current trends reverse, common ‘lifestyle’ diseases — cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and mental ailments — will cost $47 trillion in treatment and lost wages
  • However, innovation in science has led to a decline in death rates for non-communicable diseases by almost 20% in the EU5, Australia, Canada and Japan from 2000 to 2012
  • India’s National Health Policy aims to reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases by 25% by 2025
  • Innovations coming up: Innovative bio-pharmaceutical firms are currently developing 190 medicines to treat heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
  • A study by the Alzheimer’s Association in the U.S. showed $376 billion in costs can be avoided by 2050 from the development of a new medicine that delays the onset of the disease by just five years
  • Need for IP protection: From drug discovery to regulatory approval, developing a new medicine takes 10-15 years and costs $2.6 billion
  • Intellectual Property is the bedrock on which new drug development is built
  • It is critical to improve patient care and spur economic growth
  • Without strong IP protection, researchers may not have the motivation to innovate, leading to the treatments of tomorrow

Way forward

  • As we approach World IP Day on April 26, it is imperative for India to build an ecosystem conducive to innovation and creativity not only in terms of IP awareness and creation but also, more importantly, to recognise the importance of intellectual property in pharmaceutical development which has the ability to change the lives of millions of patients

2. Energy: going where the wind blows

For the first time, wind power installations (windmills) in the country have crossed the 5 Gigawatt mark, to reach 5,400 MW in 2016-17. The earlier record was 3,472 MW of 2015-16. The current year might see installations of 6 GW

Significance of this expansion

  • The Centre wants to buy electricity from wind power producers and sell it to electricity supply companies in other states, which are bound by law to buy a portion of their needs from wind and solar sources.

Background

  • India, with 32,280 MW, has the fourth biggest capacity in the world, after China, the U.S. and Germany. The national target is 60 GW by 2022. Wind accounts for 10% of India’s total power capacity of 3.2 lakh MW; and 4% in terms of electricity produced.
  • The Indian wind industry has been around since the late 1980s. For many years, it existed only in T.N., the windiest State. In the last decade, it spread to eight other States that have any wind potential — four other southern states, M.P., Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

 

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. ‘Smart glasses’ that mimic eye’s lens

What’s in news?

  • Scientists have developed ‘smart glasses’ with liquid-based lenses that flex to refocus on whatever the wearer is viewing
  • The glasses are developed by researchers at the University of Utah
  • These are designed to mimic the behaviour of the eye’s natural lens — flexing to focus on wherever an individual is looking: near, far or in-between
  • The central technology are lenses made of glycerin, a clear thick liquid sandwiched between flexible membranes
  • The lenses are mounted into frames that have an electromechanical system that causes the membranes to bend to adjust their focus
  • The ability of the lens to flex and bend allows the single lens to act like multiple lenses

2. Indian firm’s Zika virus vaccine 100% efficient in animal trials

What’s in news?

  • The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s ‘killed Zika virus vaccine’ using an African strain has shown 100% efficacy against mortality and disease in animal studies
  • A ‘killed virus vaccine’ or ‘inactivated vaccine’ contains virus that has been grown in culture and then killed using physical or chemical processes
  • The vaccine was found to confer 100% protection against infection caused by an Asian Zika virus strain as well as by the African Zika virus strain


D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for Today

 

PIB Articles    Editorials Roundup

 

E. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn 

PRELIMS WORTHY FACTUAL INFORMATION
  • What is RUSA?  
    Context: Union Minister of Human Resource Development Shri Prakash Javadekar launched the unique portal and mobile app of Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)
  • RUSA is a body under the aegis of the Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Aim: to improve quality of education
    Under the concept of RUSA the quality of education can go up by improving the research labs infrastructure and creating smart class rooms and various other programmes by which the quality enhancement and value addition to the students happen
  • The portal is a one-stop for States’ Higher Education Plans, decision of the States’ Higher Education Councils and details of the resources under this scheme
  • RUSA is the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the Department of Higher Education, MHRD which aims to provide strategic central funding to State Higher Education Departments and Institutions and achieve the broad objectives of access, equity and excellence.
  • The State Higher Education Departments and Institutions undertake certain governance, academic and administrative reforms as a pre-requisite to be entitled for RUSA grants
 

F. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS

BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGANISATIONS IN NEWS About the Article


G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1: The Sri Rama Sagar Project, which is described as lifeline for a 
large part of Telangana, is constructed across which of the following rivers?
  1. River Krishna
  2. River Godavari
  3. River Musi
  4. River Manira
See
Answer
Question 2: Iran is said to have a unique geopolitical location and has 
historically been an important arena of great power jostling for influence. 
Which of the following countries border Iran?
  1. Tajikistan
  2. Turkey
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Pakistan

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1, 3 and 4
  4. 2 and 4 Only
See
Answer
Question 3: China’s claim in waters of East Asia is enclosed by what it refers 
to and has come to be known as the ‘Nine-Dash Line’. This line encompasses 
which all seas?
  1. South China Sea
  2. Sulu Sea
  3. Celebes Sea

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3
See
Answer
Question 4: Consider the following statements:
  1. The Montreal Protocol deals only with phasing down of substances that deplete the ozone layer.
  2. Unlike the Montreal Protocol, in which each of the signatories is equally responsible for eliminating the banned chemicals, the Kyoto Protocol puts “differentiated responsibilities” on developed and developing countries.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2
See
Answer
 

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