08 Aug 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
HEALTH
1. Scrub typhus is key encephalitis cause in eastern U.P.
2. Most babies not breastfed in their first hour
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Trump warns world against doing business with Iran
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Railways’ focus misplaced: CAG
2. Banks take about 70,000-cr. hit due to frauds in last 3 years
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
GOVERNANCE
1. Handicapped Commissions
F. Tidbits
G. Prelims Fact
1. INTACH bats for heritage buildings
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: HEALTH

1. Scrub typhus is key encephalitis cause in eastern U.P.

 Context:

From a study of three years’ data in Uttar Pradesh, it is inferred that Scrub typhus is the key cause of encephalitis in U.P.

Why is this finding important?

  • Acute encephalitis syndrome is a major health problem in the state of UP, India, because of the multiple aetiologies involved, lack of standardized case definitions and availability of limited resources.
  • This finding is important, given that the mite-borne disease scrub typhus can be treated easily if detected early. Especially because, treatable bacterial diseases such as leptospirosis and scrub typhus are grossly underestimated because of the low index of suspicion and limited diagnostic facilities, in India. 
  • It was found that the mites carry Orientia tsutsugumashi, the bacterium which causes scrub typhus.
  • The study also helped in explaining why scrub typhus incidence peaks during monsoon.

Scrub Typhus:

  • Scrub Typhus is caused by a multicellular parasite, Orientia tsutsugumashi.
  • Scrub typhus is transmitted by some species of trombiculid mites which are found in areas of heavy scrub vegetation. It can also be transmitted by lice, ticks and fleas.
  • Clinical features generally include fever, headache, muscle pain, gastrointestinal symptoms and myalgia, with or without rash.
  • Scrub typhus is endemic to a part of the world known as the tsutsugamushi triangle. This extends from northern Japan and far-eastern Russia in the north, to the territories around the Solomon Sea into northern Australia in the south, and to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the west
  • In Indian context, scrub typhus was first reported in Assam during World War II (1944–1945) across the India–Myanmar border

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome  (AES)

  • Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is characterized by an acute onset of fever and clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma.
  • The disease has been reported to be associated with several complications including limb paralysis, seizures, impaired consciousness or even death.
  • In non-fatal cases, AES may often lead to severe permanent physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social difficulties in affected individuals
  • Assam, is recognized as an endemic zone for acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), especially that caused by Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV).

2. Most babies not breastfed in their first hour

 Context:

According to a new report, as many as 6 out of 10 babies born in the country are not able to begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth despite an improvement in institutional deliveries due to a lack of supportive work environment, inadequate skills of health care providers as well as caesarean deliveries.

  • The report has been prepared by a national consortium of public health groups and agencies including government departments, AIIMS and UNICEF, under the aegis of World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTI).
  • According to National Family Health Survey,
    • Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth is 41.5%
    • Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is 54.9%
    • Inclusion of complementary feeding between 6-8 months is 42.7%
    • Adequate complementary feeding and minimum acceptable diet among 6-23 months children is as low as 9.6%.

Importance of First milk:

  • Mother’s breast milk within one hour of birth ensures that the infant receives the colostrum or first milk, which is rich in protective factors.
  • Babies that are not breastfed within the first hour of life are at a higher risk of death and disease, and also mostly unlikely to continue breastfeeding.
  • The WHO and UNICEF also recommend exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to the age of six months and thereafter complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

The 5th Report of Assessment of India’s Policy and Programmes on Breastfeeding and Infant and Young Child Feeding in 2018 also gives India a score of 45 out of 100 on 10 parameters under the category of policy and programmes. However, India performs better in terms of infant and young child feeding practices scoring 34 out of 50 on five parameters.

India has made some progress over the years and between National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-3 and NFHS-4, early initiation of breastfeeding has improved from 23.4% to 41.5% children breastfed within one hour of birth. This hasn’t kept pace with the stark increase in institutional deliveries which more than doubled during the same period, from 38.7 % to 78.9%.

Way forward:

  • Educate the people against common practices, such as discarding colostrum, an elder feeding the baby honey or health professionals giving the newborn a specific liquid, such as sugar water or infant formula as it delays a newborn’s first critical contact with the mother.
  • The presence of a skilled birth attendant who could assist the mother to breast feed the baby within an hour of birth would help.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Trump warns world against doing business with Iran

 Context:

The U.S. has imposed the most biting sanctions ever on the Islamic Republic.

  • S. President Donald Trump warned countries against doing business with Iran .
  • Within hours of the sanctions taking effect, German automaker Daimler said it was halting its business activities in Iran.

Background:

  • The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran deal, was signed on July 14, 2015 between Iran, the U.S., China, France, Russia, the U.K., Germany and the European Union.
  • Under this deal, Iran agreed not to build any more heavy water facilities, eliminate its stockpile or medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and reduce the number of its gas centrifuges. Other nuclear facilities in Iran would have to be converted into non-nuclear facilities.
  • In return, Iran would recover assets worth $100 billion frozen in overseas banks, and sanctions on the country by the U.S., the U.N., and the E.U. were lifted.
  • President Donald Trump recently decided to unilaterally pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal and to re-imposing nuclear sanctions against that country in May 2018.

Impacts of USA’s Decision:

  • The sanctions re-imposed targeting access to U.S. banknotes and key industries such as cars and carpets were unlikely to cause immediate economic turmoil.
  • Iran’s markets were actually relatively buoyant, with the rial strengthening by 20% since the government relaxed foreign exchange rules and allowed unlimited, tax-free gold and currency imports.
  • But the second tranche on November 5 covering Iran’s vital oil sector could be far more damaging, even if several key customers such as China, India and Turkey have refused to significantly cut their purchases.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Railways’ focus misplaced: CAG

 Context:

In a report tabled by the CAG, it was told that the bottlenecks must be removed to ensure timely arrival and departure of trains.

  • The focus of Railways’ modernisation plans for its stations is mainly on improving the façade and passenger facilities.
  • Removing bottlenecks to ensure timely movement of trains should be one of the most important parameters to judge the quality of service being provided to the passengers

Blockage of lines:

  • The audit noticed that infrastructure such as platforms, washing pit lines and stabling lines at the stations were not augmented to match the increase in the number of trains handled in all these stations.
  • Non-availability of adequate washing pit lines and stabling lines led to the movement of empty trains to other depots for maintenance purposes causing blockage of lines.

What can be done?

Important activities that could significantly contribute to timely arrival and departure of trains as per the report are:

  • Before taking up modernization/redevelopment of stations and constructing new buildings, the possibility of further expansion of the stations by adding more platforms needs to be considered.
  • Providing platforms with adequate length for easy boarding of long trains
  • Providing adequate facilities for stabling trains
  • Providing adequate facilities for the maintenance of trains in the stations
  • Providing adequate yard capacity 

2. Banks take about 70,000-cr. hit due to frauds in last 3 years

 Context:

Indian banks reported a total loss of about Rs. 70,000 crore due to frauds during the last three fiscals up to March 2018. Impact in 2017-18 at Rs. 36,694 cr is more than twice seen in previous 2 years, each.

  • The data of frauds is as per the year of reporting and not the year of occurrence of fraud or sanction of loan or letter of undertaking, which could be of an earlier period.
  • The gross advances by the Scheduled Commercial Banks also increased
  • On stressed assets, it was said that the sudden rise was due to aggressive lending practices, wilful default, loan frauds, corruption in some cases and economic slowdown.
  • As per RBI data, there were 139 borrowers with aggregate gross NPAs of more than Rs. 1,000 crore.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY

1. Handicapped Commissions

National commissions are on a standstill!

Context:

  • In India there are plenty of national commissions and they all supposed to be parastatal watchdogs to oversee the implementation of human rights and civil liberties.

  • As of today there are at least eight such quasi-autonomous bodies.

Example:

  • National Commission for Women, a 26 year old organization reported recommendation to the government for banning by law the Christian religious practice of confession.

  • The suggestion indeed was reckless and damaging.

Background:

    • The commencement of commissions began in January 1978 with the establishment of a central Minorities Commission, followed five months later by a joint Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission.

    • The succeeding Congress rule, conferred constitutional status on the SC/ST Commission. The Minorities Commission was eventually rechristened as the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and placed under an Act of Parliament. In 2003, the SC/ST Commission was split into two bodies, both enjoying constitutional status.

    • National Commission for Women Act came in 1990, but the first Commission under it was set up in January 1992 after the change of government.

    • The new Congress government enacted laws for the establishment of two more national commissions, one each for backward classes and safai karmcharis.

    • In quick succession in september 1993,  National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), was set up professedly to “counter the false and politically motivated propaganda by foreign and Indian civil rights agencies”, under an ordinance retrospectively replaced early next year with the Protection of Human Rights Act.

    • In 2004, the Congress set up two national commissions — one each for minority educational institutions and protection of child rights.

    • It had also moved a bill to confer constitutional status on NCM but did not seriously pursue the move. This year, a parliamentary committee and the present NCM endorsed the move but till date there has been no official response. Meanwhile, the government has conferred constitutional status on the National Backward Classes Commission

 

Issue:

  • The composition and appointment mechanism for various national commissions widely differ.

  • The NHRC must be headed by a former Chief Justice of India and have two members each from amongst judges and human rights experts — all to be appointed by a high-level statutory committee.

  • The NCM and NCW chairs and members are to be appointed by the government in its unrestricted discretion. While aspirants for the chair and membership of NCM should only be persons of “eminence, ability and integrity”, the NCW chair is simply to be one “committed to the cause of women” — only its members have to be “persons of ability, integrity and understanding who have experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry or organisation committed to increasing employment potential of women, women’s voluntary organisations (including women activists) administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare”.

  • The record of successive governments in adhering to the prescribed touchstones is disappointing.

  • In the case of NCW — of its eight Chairs, the only name eminently fulfilling statutory requirements for eligibility has been of Mohini Giri.

 

Conclusion and recommendations:

  • Under the custodian of these autonomous national bodies, the situation of citizens’ human rights and civil liberties has been moving from bad to worse.
  • All these white elephants — each maintained with an exorbitant budget — are a drain on the state exchequer and ultimately an unwarranted burden on taxpayers.

  • So a need of the hour is to develop a commission pertaining to various issues centralized by a governing body which monitors for a well-governed stature.

 

F. Tidbits

Nothing here for today!!!

 

G. Prelims Fact

1. INTACH bats for heritage buildings

Context:

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has called for transforming heritage buildings in Rajasthan into “economic assets” for the society. Economic benefits could be derived from these properties as an alternative to paying for their upkeep on a regular basis.

  • an exercise had been launched for mapping of natural heritage in Thar desert with the participation of local communities for modern planning.
  • The trust works for protection of natural heritage, geo-heritage, water bodies, stepwells, sacred groves, wall paintings and rock paintings.

 

INTACH:

  • INTACH was founded in 1984 in New Delhi with the vision to create a membership organisation to stimulate and spearhead heritage awareness and conservation in India.
  • It is a non-profit charitable organisation registered under the Societies’ Registration Act, 1860.
  • In 2007, the United Nations awarded INTACH a special consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council.
  • Since 1984, INTACH has pioneered the conservation and protection of India’s natural and cultural heritage and is today the largest membership organisation in the country dedicated to conservation.
  • Today it has chapters in 170 Indian cities, as well as chapters in Belgium and the United Kingdom.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about Scrub typhus:
  1. Scrub typhus is an infectious disease caused by a virus.
  2. The disease has no cure, only its symptoms can be treated.

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements:
  1. The Iran nuclear deal framework was a preliminary framework agreement reached in 2015 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America
  2. USA unilaterally pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal Framework in 2018

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements:
  1. Assam, is recognized as an endemic zone for acute encephalitis syndrome (AES).
  2. Japanese encephalitis (JE), a vector-borne viral disease

Which of the statement/s is/are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 4. Who among the following can be appointed as the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
  1. Retired Chief Justice of any High Court
  2. Any retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
  3. Any specialist in the field appointed by the President

  4. Any sitting judge of the Supreme Court

See

Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. Mother’s breast milk within one hour of birth is called the baby’s first vaccine. Elaborate on the initiatives taken by the government in this regard.

  2. Discuss the nature of working of National Regulatory Commissions in India. Suggest measures to bring about changes in these Commissions.

     

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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