28 Feb 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Modify forest dwellers’ eviction order: Centre
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. IAF plane shot down, pilot taken captive by Pak. army
C. GS3 Related
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1.  The vexatious question of Masood Azhar
INDIAN ECONOMY
1. Regulating drug prices 
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Tailing a virus
F. Tidbits
1. A memorial to remember Odisha’s witch-hunt victims
2. Nasscom wants U.S. to provide level-playing field for Indian firms
3. World’s smallest baby boy goes home from Japan hospital
4. China to act against rogue scientists
5. A.P. gets new South Coast Railway zone
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains practice Questions

A. GS1 Related

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

 

1. Modify forest dwellers’ eviction order: Centre

Context

  • The Centre filed an application urging the Supreme Court to modify its February 13 order directing the eviction of thousands of Scheduled Tribes (STs) and other traditional forest dwellers whose claims for forest land rights have been rejected under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
  • In its application, the Centre said the claims of lakhs of forest-dwelling STs and other traditional forest dwellers had been rejected by the States without observing due process of law.
  • The forest land claims of these tribes and forest dwellers, who live off the forest, are mostly rejected by the States. Being poor and illiterate people who live in remote areas, they do not know the appropriate procedure for filing claims, the government submitted.
  • The gram sabhas, which initiate the verification of their claims, are low on awareness about how to deal with these claims and rejection orders are not even communicated to the forest-dwelling STs and communities.

What are the Supreme Court’s directions?

  • A three-judge Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee on February 13 had ordered the Chief Secretaries of many of these States to evict those whose claims as forest dwellers have been finally rejected under the law. The court directed that the eviction should be carried out on or before July 24, 2019, that is, the next date of hearing.

  • The court ordered the Forest Survey of India (FSI) to make a satellite survey and place on record the “encroachment positions.” It directed FSI to also place on record the position “after the eviction as far as possible.”
Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

1. IAF plane shot down, pilot taken captive by Pak. army

Context

  • An Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan after a major aerial confrontation and chase between Pakistan Air Force planes, which dropped bombs in four locations of Jammu and Kashmir, and Indian Air Force jets that countered them over the Line of Control (LoC).

Details of the issue

  • The confrontation began after Pakistan sent several aircraft to the LoC in retaliation for the Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot.
  • The government said IAF jets shot down an F-16 jet of the PAF in the skirmish, and the wreckage had fallen on the Pakistan side. Pakistan’s military, however, denied the loss of any aircraft.
  • Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman began to chase the Pakistani jets to push them back, when he had to eject over the LoC after the MiG-21 he was flying was shot by a Pakistani plane. He landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he was taken into custody.

 

Geneva Conventions

C. GS3 Related

D. GS4 Related

 Nothing here today!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

 

1. The vexatious question of Masood Azhar

What’s in the news? 

  • The UN Security Council adopted a statement on February 21, 2019 condemning the Pulwama terrorist attack of February 14, 2019 for which the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) took responsibility.

India’s Reaction:

  • India is applauding this development and it should.
  • A lot of diplomatic effort had gone into achieving this result.
  • But this statement should be looked at with a proper perspective.

Editorial Analysis:

Hierarchy of actions: A Perspective

  • Some media organisations and analysts have mistakenly described the Council as having adopted a resolution.
  • This is not true; the Council made a presidential statement.
  • It may be worthwhile to understand the nuances of the action the Council takes in a given situation.

Actions that the Council can take:

  • Experts opine that the least forceful action that the Council can take is to authorise the current month’s President to speak to media representatives about the proceedings of the Council. There is no official record of these remarks.
  • The second level is when the Council adopts a presidential statement.
  • A lot of negotiations are undertaken in the small room reserved for informal consultations next to the Council chamber where only members of the Council are present.
  • Of necessity, it has to be a consensus, as distinct from unanimous, document, meaning that not all the members support everything included in it but go along since they do not have a serious problem with the text.
  • It is important to note that even if one member has strong objections to the text, the statement cannot be approved.
  • The draft of the text could be prepared either by the President or by one of the members; for the most part, that member is the representative of one of the permanent members.
  • Also, the statement could be issued either in the name of the Council or in the name of ‘members of the Security Council’. The former is generally regarded as carrying more weight than the latter.
  • The third level is the resolution, which is the most authentic voice of the Council, carrying maximum weight. Again, the resolution can be under Chapter VI or Chapter VII of the Charter.
  • Resolutions adopted under Chapter VII are enforceable unlike those under Chapter VI (Resolutions regarding Kashmir are under Chapter VI).
  • Some analysts dismiss the statements and resolutions of the Council as of no consequence, arguing that the countries concerned should pursue their interests irrespective of the Council’s action.
  • In practice, the country against which the resolution or statement is aimed cares a lot about the text of the resolution because countries care about their image in the international community.
  • Israel, which has the maximum number of resolutions critical of its actions, makes strenuous efforts, through its protector, the U.S., to have the resolutions moderated to make them less critical. Hours are spent on negotiations, discussing whether to ‘condemn’, ‘deplore’ or ‘strongly deplore’ something.
  • It is important to note that the February 21, 2019 statement was in the name of the members of the Council. It is not that it is not worth much; it is just that it is a notch below a statement that is issued in the name of the Council.
  • A statement in the name of the members might also suggest that not all of them were fully on board with the entire text. A statement in the name of the Council would suggest that all the 15 members are in agreement with the text.
  • The fact that China went along with the statement does not signify much of a shift in its position, since the Council had already declared the JeM as a terrorist organisation.

Inclusion of Masood Azhar in the statement?

  • The statement does not name Masood Azhar.
  • Further, it is not known if the French, who took the initiative in this matter, had at any stage included Azhar’s name in the text and took it out at China’s insistence. From the French perspective, this initiative will earn them brownie points from India, without having to pay much of a price.
  • In 2016, India moved the sanctions committee to include Azhar’s name, with the support of three permanent members: the U.S., the U.K., and France.
  • Again, in 2017, India took a similar initiative, supported by the same countries.
  • On both occasions, Russia did not actively support the proposal, though it went along with it. China vetoed it both times.

Importance of having Azhar included in the list of global terrorists:

  • It is for consideration whether and why it is so important for India to have Azhar included in the list of global terrorists.
  • The only consequence of naming an individual is that the person cannot travel to other countries and his funds in foreign accounts will get frozen.
  • In Azhar’s case, this will not cause him much discomfort.
  • An important question arises: is it worth India’s while to invest so much effort and perhaps political capital in getting him named an international terrorist?
  • Suppose China at some stage removes its veto on Azhar’s name, which it will only do with Pakistan’s approval, it would be doing a big favour to India. Will that be regarded enough of a concession by Pakistan for India to resume dialogue with it?

India’s Participation in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC): A Perspective

  • There is no doubt that India’s relations with West Asia have improved significantly in the past five years.
  • The invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be guest of honour on March 1, 2019 at the Foreign Ministers meet is ample evidence of this.
  • However, it is also important to note that the past record of the OIC with respect to India is most objectionable.
  • In 2017, the OIC adopted a resolution condemning “the intensified Indian barbarities since July 2016, after the extra judicial killing of Burhan Wani, against unarmed and innocent civilians in Indian occupied Kashmir” and “denouncing India” for refusing the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC access to “IoK”.
  • Having said this, it makes sense not to allow the present to be held hostage to the past. Ms. Swaraj has a challenging mission to accomplish.
  • However, to regard the previous OIC resolutions regarding Kashmir as of no consequence is in the nature of rationalising the current approach.
  • Hopefully, the OIC will respect India’s gesture and refrain from embarrassing Ms. Swaraj after her departure.

Raising issues in the Council

  • Experts point out that the successful preventive non-military strike carried out by the Indian Air Force on the JeM’s terrorist training camp in Pakistan on 26th February, 2019 undoubtedly caught Pakistan by surprise.
  • Apart from military action, which Pakistan has already taken, it will certainly try to raise the issue in the Council.
  • It may be difficult to prevent it, since what has happened would certainly be regarded as threatening international peace and security.
  • As a matter of fact, Pakistan’s all-weather friend, China, may take the initiative on behalf of its protégé.
  • It is important to note that according to Council rules, if a member of the Council asks for a meeting, the meeting has to be called. Experts point out that India must have spoken to the U.S. and others about this possibility.
  • In conclusion, if the Council does meet, it would give India an opportunity to expose Pakistan’s true face. It will no doubt screen footage and photos to buttress its case in the Council.

Category: INDIAN ECONOMY

 

1. Regulating drug prices

Larger Background:

  • NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) is an organization of the Government of India which was established, inter alia, to fix/revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995.
  • The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers.
  • It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.

Functions of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority:

  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority;
  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps;
  • To collect/maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations;
  • To undertake and/or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals;
  • To recruit/appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government;
  • To render advice to the Central Government on changes/revisions in the drug policy;
  • To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.

Editorial Analysis:

What has been the impact of market-based pricing?

  • It is important to note that the largest share of out-of-pocket expenditure on health is due to medicines (approximately 70%, according to the NSSO).
  • This is a major access barrier to healthcare, especially for the poor.
  • Health experts have criticised the Drug (Prices Control) Order (DPCO), 2013 for doing little to increase the affordability of medicines.
  • Data from the Department of Pharmaceuticals show that the majority of medicines have price reductions of 20% or less.

How are prices regulated?

  • The DPCO controls the prices of all essential medicines by fixing ceiling prices, limiting the highest prices companies can charge.
  • The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) is drawn up to include essential medicines that satisfy the priority health needs of the population.
  • The list is made with considerations of safety, efficacy, disease prevalence and the comparative cost-effectiveness of medicines, and is updated periodically by an expert panel set up for this purpose under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • This list forms the basis of price controls under the DPCO.

What is the mechanism for price capping?

  • The NLEM 2015 contains 376 medicines on the basis of which the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has fixed prices of over 800 formulations using the provisions of the DPCO.
  • However, these formulations cover less than 10% of the total pharmaceutical market.
  • The DPCO follows a market-based pricing mechanism. The ceiling price is worked out on the basis of the simple average price of all brands having at least 1% market share of the total market turnover of that medicine.

Have any other methods been used?

  • Prior to 2013, the DPCO followed a cost-based pricing mechanism that was based on the costs involved in manufacturing a medicine along with reasonable profit margins.
  • Health experts have argued that this policy resulted in comparatively lower prices than the current market-based policy.
  • Since the implementation of the DPCO, 2013, the NPPA has made certain departures from the market-based pricing mechanism, which was found to be insufficient for ensuring affordability.
  • This has been done through the use of special powers to act in public interest under Paragraph 19 of the DPCO, to regulate the prices of cardiac stents and knee implants.
  • These moves have brought about dramatic price reductions: 85% in the case of stents and 65% in the case of knee implants.

What about cancer drugs?

  • Experts point out that currently, the government is planning to cap the trade margins for highly priced drugs for cancer and rare diseases to bring down their prices.
  • As a matter of fact, they further opine that this move is in the wake of recent amendments to the DPCO that exempted patented medicines and rare disease drugs from price controls.
  • However, they also claim that the trade margin capping will not sufficiently bring down prices.
  • As a matter of fact, some of them urge the government to take serious policy measures to ensure true affordability such as through price controls, implementation of the national rare disease policy and the use of legal flexibilities under patent law.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

 

1. Tailing a virus

Larger Background:

Zika virus:

  • Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys through a network that monitored yellow fever.
  • It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) of Zika virus disease is not clear, but is likely to be a few days.
  • The symptoms are similar to other arbovirus infections such as dengue, and include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, and headache. These symptoms are usually mild and last for 2-7 days.

Transmission:

  • Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti in tropical regions.
  • Aedes mosquitoes usually bite during the day, peaking during early morning and late afternoon/evening.
  • This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever. Sexual transmission of Zika virus is also possible.
  • Other modes of transmission such as blood transfusion are being investigated.

Editorial Analysis:

  • Experts have opined that it is a time of peace and quiet for India on the Zika front.
  • The states of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which saw large outbreaks late last year (2018), stopped seeing new cases before the end of 2018.
  • Further, for health authorities, the temptation may be to move on to more pressing concerns, like the recent large number of H1N1 influenza cases.
  • The truth, however, is that this is an excellent time to study Zika epidemiology in India. Public health officials must do this while disseminating data quickly and transparently, so that it can be analysed by the global scientific community. This is in India’s best interests.

A look at certain specifics:

  • An important question arises: What are the data that health authorities should be collecting?
  • Firstly, they must leave no stone unturned in following up on every pregnant woman who was diagnosed Zika positive in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
  • As a matter of fact, when the epidemics began, there were worrying indications that Central and State health officials were downplaying the risk to pregnant women.
  • It is important to note that even though there is no evidence conclusively linking a particular viral strain or mutation with foetal anomalies, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said the Rajasthan strain did not have the S139N mutation linked to microcephaly. This is incorrect.
  • Even though microcephaly was first observed as a consequence of Zika during the 2015 Brazilian epidemic, strains other than the Brazilian strain, which do not have the S139N mutation, have been linked with the abnormality.
  • For example, in 2017, when the virus from a foetus with microcephaly in Thailand was sequenced, it did not have the S139N mutation.
  • Researchers also showed that a 1966 Malaysian virus strain — isolated long before Zika was seen to cause microcephaly in Brazil — was as effective at infecting foetal mouse brains as the Brazilian one.
  • In another 2017 study, published in Development, a strain from the African virus lineage, which was hitherto not thought to cause microcephaly, was seen to be more damaging to mouse brains than the Asian lineage (to which the Brazilian strain belongs).Given this research, we must assume that all Zika strains can cause microcephaly.
  • If this is the case, why did the link between microcephaly and Zika become evident only in the 2015 Latin American epidemic?
  • It is important to note that prior to this, numerous outbreaks had occurred in Southeast Asia. Yet, no one picked up on this phenomenon.

Explanations given by Scientists:

  • Scientists have proposed several explanations for this mystery.
  • One is that Zika has always caused microcephaly, although the link became obvious only in Brazil because so many people were infected.
  • Another possibility is that poverty and malnutrition worsen the progression of the disease in pregnant women.
  • This would explain why northeast Brazil, with its widespread poverty, was the most severely affected by microcephaly.
  • Scientists are also probing whether simultaneous infection with dengue or chikungunya make the children of Zika-infected women more prone to foetal anomalies.
  • Two studies published earlier in the year 2019 show conflicting evidence for the role of dengue.
  • The first study, published in Immunity, showed that in mice, the presence of dengue antibodies led to more placental damage and restricted foetal growth due to Zika.
  • Another study in Science showed that people infected by dengue were protected against Zika during an outbreak in Salvador, Brazil.
  • Given this conflicting evidence, scientists are very far from understanding what makes Zika deadly to foetuses. This means that any data on how the pregnancies of Zika-infected women pan out in India can be enlightening.
  • Experts point out that careful studies must be carried out to see if there is increased prevalence of microcephaly, and to understand the risk-factors.
  • Already, the TORCH (Toxoplasmosis, Other, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes) infections are known to cause foetal abnormalities, including microcephaly, among newborns.
  • Experts have suggested that wherever women are screened for TORCH, they must also be screened for Zika.
  • It’s also important to remember that the Zika risk doesn’t end after the baby is born healthy.
  • The experience of Latin America showed that even healthy newborns can go on to develop symptoms later. This has led to estimates of the incidence of birth defects being revised upwards.

Herd immunity: A Perspective

  • The other important bit of actionable information that health authorities can and should gather concerns population immunity.
  • To study immunity, experts point out that authorities must conduct seroprevalence surveys, in which they screen people in several States for antibodies to zika.
  • Many Indians could well have such antibodies, which means they are protected to some extent.
  • The reason they are likely to have antibodies is because the Rajasthan outbreak virus was around in the State since at least 2016.
  • Moreover, as a recent paper by researchers from the National Institute of Virology revealed, the Rajasthan strain is endemic to Asia, which means it could have been in India for decades now.
  • Still, exposure to the virus does not guarantee a lifetime of protection.
  • So, seroprevalence surveys are needed to identify pockets of low immunity in India.
  • Experts point out that health authorities can then focus their efforts on these regions, because they would be most vulnerable to future outbreaks.
  • It is true that seroprevalence studies are not easy to do, given the cross-reactivity that plagues flaviviruses.
  • The Enzyme-linked immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), which is commonly used in seroprevalence studies to detect antibodies, can throw up false positives for Zika if a person has dengue antibodies.
  • This is because dengue antibodies can neutralise Zika and vice versa.

Separating dengue from Zika:

  • The good news is that researchers are working to develop alternative tests that are specific to Zika alone.
  • One multinational team, including Swiss firm Humabs BioMed, has developed an ELISA test that is able to distinguish Zika from dengue.
  • The test was used in a survey at Managua, Nicaragua after a large epidemic hit the city in 2016.
  • It found that in 2017, 56% of tested adults had antibodies to Zika, suggesting that the city wouldn’t see another large epidemic in the near future.
  • India should consider doing such surveys too.
  • The outbreaks in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have seemingly ended, which is good news.

Concluding Remarks:

  • In conclusion, it is important to note that given that the virus is already in these States, and these States have well connected transportation links, there is reason to expect future outbreaks when the mosquito season begins again.
  • Next, the outbreak response should not end when an outbreak ends, because that is when efforts to contain the next epidemic begin.
  • Lastly, if India is lucky, the next epidemic will not be a big one. But it is not an assumption that health authorities should make.
 

F. Tidbits

 

1. A memorial to remember Odisha’s witch-hunt victims

  • A memorial for witch-hunt victims may sound odd, but the Odisha police have chosen this innovative way to sensitise people to shun the heinous practice.
  • The witch-hunt victims’ memorial, said to be the first of its kind in the country, was opened to the public in the district headquarter town of Keonjhar.
  • While it has a symbolic statue in memory of all the innocents who were killed after being branded as witch, the names of the victims have been etched on a granite stone.
  • State Director General of Police R.P. Sharma inaugurated the statue in the presence of 300 witch-hunt victims and members of self-help groups.
  • In order to sensitise the public, Mr. Sharma and top officials of Keonjhar sat with women who had been branded as witches over dinner and discussed measures to rid society of the menace.
  • The inhuman practice of witch-hunting prevails in several States, including Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Assam, mainly in the tribal areas. The social evil has long vanished from most parts of the world, barring India and some African countries
  • In India, 134 people, majority of them being women, were killed after being branded as witch. In Odisha last year, 18 people were killed. In Keonjhar, more than 50 people have been killed in the last 10 years
  • A decorated van with awareness messages, publicity material and copies of the Odisha Prevention of Witch-hunting Act, 2013, was also flagged off. It will move in the interior pockets of Keonjhar to raise awareness about the social evil.
 

2. Nasscom wants U.S. to provide level-playing field for Indian firms

  • IT industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) is working closely with the U.S. government to change its perception that Indian firms and workers take away most of the jobs in the U.S. information technology sector.
  • According to Nasscom, Indian IT companies take less than 12% of the 65,000 H-1B visas. More than 70% of the visas are given to Indians, but not to Indian IT firms.
  • “There is a shortage of talent in the U.S. and Indians or Indian IT firms do not take away U.S. jobs. We are asking for a level-playing field and not for special treatment at all,” Nasscom chairman Rishad Premji said.
  • According to data with the U.S. Department of State and Department of Labour, there will be a shortage of over two million digitally skilled workers by 2020 in the U.S.
  • According to Nasscom, 2018-19 was an exciting year for the industry, as the export sector crossed $137 billion of revenue and marginally grew above Nasscom’s guidance of 7-9%.
  • Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh said, “There was a 9.2% growth in IT exports. So, we are doing phenomenally well in all the countries that we are in and we are expanding our footprint across the world.”
 

3. World’s smallest baby boy goes home from Japan hospital

  • An infant born in , weighing the same as a beetroot, has now gone home healthy. He became the smallest newborn boy in the world to leave hospital safely.
  • The tiny tot weighed just 268 grams when he was delivered at 24 weeks, reportedly after he stopped growing in the womb. He was so small he fit in an adult’s cupped hands.
  • But after five months of treatment, he now weighs 3.238 kilos, is feeding normally, and has been discharged, Keio University Hospital said.
  • “I can only say I’m happy that he has grown this big because honestly, I wasn’t sure he could survive,” the boy’s mother said.
  • Keio University Hospital said the boy was believed to now hold the record for the smallest newborn boy to be discharged from a hospital in good health.
  • The record was previously held by a boy born in Germany in 2009 weighing just 274 grams, the hospital said, citing a registry put together by University of Iowa for the world’s tiniest surviving babies.
  • The smallest surviving girl was born in Germany in 2015 weighing 252 grams, according to the registry. The survival rate of the smallest babies is substantially lower for boys compared with girls.
 

4. China to act against rogue scientists

  • China has drafted new rules to supervise biotechnology research, with fines and bans against rogue scientists after a Chinese researcher caused a global outcry by claiming that he gene-edited babies.
  • The announcement comes as He Jiankui’s controversial experiment continues to transfix the scientific community, with researchers saying the procedure had the potential of enhancing the learning capabilities and memory of the babies.
  • He announced in November that the world’s first gene-edited babies — twin girls — were born that same month after he altered their DNA to prevent them from contracting HIV by deleting a certain gene under a technique known as CRISPR.
  • The claim shocked scientists worldwide, raising questions about bioethics and putting a spotlight on China’s lax oversight of scientific research.
  • The new rules unveiled by Beijing propose to classify technology used for extracting genetic materials, gene editing, gene transfer and stem cell research as “high risk”. Health authorities under the central government would manage such research.
  • Scientists can be fined 10 to 20 times the amount of “illegal income” earned from unauthorised research and be banned from their field of work for six months to one year.
  • “If the circumstances are serious, their medical practice licence shall be revoked and the individual shall not engage in clinical research for life,” the rules say.
 

5. A.P. gets new South Coast Railway zone

  • The Centre has announced the creation of a separate railway zone in Andhra Pradesh — a long pending demand of the ruling NDA’s erstwhile ally, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
  • The new zone, South Coast Railway (SCoR), would comprise the existing Guntakal, Guntur and Vijayawada divisions. Additionally, the Waltair division would be bifurcated.
  • One part of the Waltair division will be incorporated in the new zone and will be merged with the neighbouring Vijayawada division. Waltair division is a part of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) zone.
  • A separate railway zone was one of the key promises made to Andhra Pradesh in the bifurcation act.
  • The Railways said post bifurcation, the remaining part of the Waltair division would be converted into a new division headquartered at Rayagada, Odisha, under the ECoR.
  

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Question 1.Consider the following statements regarding Sexual Harassment of Women 
at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013:
  1. It widens the definition of ‘aggrieved woman’ to include all women, irrespective of age and employment status
  2. It mandates the constitution of the internal complaint committee (ICC)
  3. It expands ‘workplace’ beyond traditional offices to include all kinds of organisations across sectors

Which of the above statement(s) is/ are correct?

  1. All of the above
  2. Only 1 and 2
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. Only 2 and 3

See

Answer
Question 2.Which of the following statements regarding Saakshar Bharat programme 
is/are correct?
  1. It goes beyond reading, writing & arithmetic and seeks to create awareness on social disparities and general well- being.
  2. A district, that had adult female literacy rate of 50 per cent or above, as per 2001 census, were considered eligible for coverage under the Saakshar Bharat programme.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 3.Which of the following are components of Accessible India Campaign?
  1. Built Environment Accessibility
  2. Transportation System Accessibility
  3. Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

See

Answer
 

I. UPSC Mains practice Questions

  1. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recently conducted a national workshop on heat wave risk reduction. What are the Heat Waves? Discuss India’s vulnerability to heat waves and feasible strategies to deal with the heat waves. (12.5 Marks; 200 words)
  2. Good jobs, not Universal Basic Income, are needed for a good society. Examine the statement (12.5 Marks; 200 words)

See previous CNA