13 Jan 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1.Farmers under KALIA scheme to get money by January 26
C. GS3 Related
ENVIRONEMENT
1.‘70% towns along Ganga let out garbage into the river’
HEALTH
1.Artificial Intelligence (AI)
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
1.Is there a renewed quota debate?” (10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to “economically weaker” sections in the General category.)
2.The lowdown on HAL’s order book
F. Tidbits
1.‘Mental health apps have gaps in information’
2.Quota Bill gets President’s assent, becomes law
G. Prelims Facts
1. ‘Monkey fever’ cases hit 62 in Shivamogga
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

 

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

 

1. Farmers under KALIA scheme to get money by January 26

Context

  • Beneficiaries who have enrolled under the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme in the first phase will receive monetary assistance by January 26, Odisha’s Cooperation Minister S.N. Patro said on Saturday.

KALIA scheme

  • KALIA is progressive, inclusive and will make a direct attack on poverty by way of massive investment in the agriculture sector and making benefits reach the most needy through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode.
  • KALIA scheme covers the cultivators, loanee, as well as non-loanee farmers, share croppers and landless agricultural labourers. It also specifically takes care of vulnerable agricultural families identified through gram panchayats and crop loans are made available at 0% interest.
  • All the small and marginal farmers of the State (92% cultivators) will be covered under the scheme. An amount of ₹10,000 per family at the rate of ₹5,000 for Kharif and Rabi shall be provided as financial assistance for taking up cultivation.
  • The farmers will have complete independence to take up interventions as per their needs. This component is not linked to extent of land owned and will greatly benefit share croppers and actual cultivators most of whom own very small extent of land.
  • Under this initiative, 10 lakh landless households will be supported with a unit cost of ₹12,500 to take up activities like small goat rearing units, mini layer units, duck units, fishery kits for fishermen and women, mushroom cultivation and bee keeping.
  • As regards financial assistance to vulnerable agriculture households and landless labourers, an annual financial assistance of ₹10,000 per household will be provided to take care of their sustenance. Deserving families will be identified and selected by gram panchayats. About 10 lakh households will be covered over two years.
  • Further, life insurance cover of ₹2 lakh and additional personal accident cover of ₹2 lakh will be provided to both cultivators and agricultural labourers covering about 57 lakh households.
 

C. GS3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT

 

1. ‘70% towns along Ganga let out garbage into the river’

Context

  • Four-and-a-half years after the Centre launched its flagship Namami Gange programme to clean up the Ganga, a government- commissioned assessment has found that 66 towns and cities along the river still have nullahs or drains flowing directly into the Ganga. Almost 85% of these nullahs do not even have screens set up to stop garbage from entering the river.
  • Of the 92 towns surveyed, 72 still have old or legacy dump sites on the ghats. Only 19 towns have a municipal solid waste plant, according to an assessment done by the Quality Council of India (QCI).

Namami Gange Programme

  • Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
  • The programme envisages: River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.
  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
  • In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
  • The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.

Category: HEALTH

 

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Context

  • A study in 2018 by the Centre for Internet & Society India claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) could help add $957 billion to the Indian economy by 2035.

A note on artificial intelligence

  • From the early days of human civilization efforts have been made to replace human hands with machines to make lives easier. Human beings then started looking beyond machines, developing robots and other advanced technologies that could just read the human mind and do the required work.
  • Intelligence is the ability to take variables from our senses and to process certain decisions using the brain. Artificial intelligence helps a machine in doing the same. Such a system has a receptor, sensors (to pick data from environment), a memory (that tells what to do depending on what signal it gets), and then it takes a decision that will communicate to another device.
  • The term Artificial Intelligence was first coined by American scientist John McCarthy in 1955. Over the years improvement in technology, algorithms, computing power and storage power has made the concept realistic.
  • This can be termed as the fourth Industrial Revolution. Each cycle of the Industrial Revolution changes the lives of the common man in unpredictable ways. This has already helped in improvements like in healthcare making surgeries of eye easier, predicting floods and droughts, etc.
  • The partnership between think tank in India NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India) with Google to develop India’s artificial intelligence ecosystem will help to improve healthcare, education, agriculture, transportation, develop innovative governance systems and improve overall economic productivity. This will also help in promoting entrepreneurs associated with it, research in the field in premier institutions like IITs and providing crash course to students across India.
  • Development in such advanced technologies affects employment opportunities also as machines can do the work of many labours. Whether they can compete with a human brain is also a question.
  • India is already making progress in computing technologies with its Digital India campaign in the recent past. Now taking a step towards Artificial Intelligence brings with it various new applications. But the drawbacks of using them are also predicted and how it will design our future is to be seen.
 

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

 

E. Editorials

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

 

1. Is there a renewed quota debate?” (10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to “economically weaker” sections in the General category.)

Note to Students:

  • In the following sections, we cover the recent development where the Lok Sabha passed a landmark bill providing 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to “economically weaker” sections in the General category.
  • We combine the perspectives from three articles, namely, “Quota questions” that was published by The Hindu on 9th January, 2019, “A solution in search of a problem” that was published by The Hindu on 11th January, 2019, and “is there a renewed quota debate?” that was published by The Hindu on 13th January, 2019.

Context:

  • The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill 2019 provides 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind on 12th January, 2019 gave his assent to this bill.

Current Status:

  • A nine-judge Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court had in the Indira Sawhney case capped the reservation at 50%.
    • It had struck down a provision that earmarked 10% for the economically backward on the ground that economic criteria cannot be the sole basis to determine backwardness.
  • The Constitution provides only for reservation based on social and educational backwardness, such additional quota would need legislative action, including Constitutional amendments.
  • Experts point out that Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution would need to be amended for implementation of the decision.

124th Constitution Amendment Bill

  • It will provide 10% reservation to economically backward sections in the general category.
  • The Bill will also cover those from the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and other minority communities.
  • The quota will be over and above the existing 50% reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBC).
  • Those who have an annual salary of less than Rs. 8 lakh per year and possess less than 5 acres of land will be able to avail reservation in educational institutions and jobs.
  • The quota will be available to only those economically backward poor people not availing the benefit of reservation as of now, who have a residential house below 1,000 square feet, a residential plot below 100 square yards in a notified municipality, residential plot below 200 square yards in non-notified municipality area.

Concerns

  • If the Supreme Court indeed agrees to lift the 50% cap, all States of India can extend the quantum of reservation and “upper castes” will stand to lose in State services and merit will be the casualty .
  • If the Supreme Court rejects the idea of breaching the 50% cap, Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quotas can be provided only by eating into the SC, ST and OBC quota pie, which will have social and political implications.

It violates Equality Principle

  • There have been issues where the quotas were increased by State governments exceeding the 50% limit thereby offending the equality norm.
  • In Nagaraj (2006), a Constitution Bench ruled that equality is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • It said the 50% ceiling, among other things, was a constitutional requirement without which the structure of equality of opportunity would collapse. There has been a string of judgments against reservations that breach the 50% limit.

Lack of data on representation

  • Another question is whether reservations can go to a section that is already adequately represented in public employment.
  • It is not clear if the government has quantifiable data to show that people from lower income groups are under-represented in its service.
  • Reservations have been traditionally provided to undo historical injustice and social exclusion suffered over a period of time, and the question is whether they should be extended to those with social and educational capital solely on the basis of what they earn.

A Closer Look:

  • Finally, it is important to note that if the EWS is treated as a category just like the SC, ST and OBC, a large chunk of general category candidates will apply for just 10% seats and the cut-offs can rise.
  • While ideally the non-reserved 40% open seats should be open seats based on merit, there are complexities here too.
  • For example, the UPSC accepts a reserved candidate in the civil services examination making it in the general merit list as general only if she has not benefited from reservation in the preliminary, mains, service choice (if one gets a better service, say IAS or IPS, due to reservation, one is counted as reserved irrespective of one’s overall rank) and State cadre choice (if a reserved candidate is in the general merit list but is getting a cadre of her choice as a reserved candidate, she is counted as reserved), say bureaucrats. So, many who are above the general cut-off may still occupy this 10% quota, as they get a better service or cadre in it.
  • Currently, it remains to be seen whether this initiative from the Government would stand the test of judicial scrutiny.
  • Some experts have opined that if the number of demands for implementing reforms is any guide, India’s reservation system is clearly in disarray. They further point out that it is unlikely that the recently passed Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, creating a 10% quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS), will serve as anything more than a band-aid.
  • Given the deep inequalities prevalent in access to education and jobs based on caste and socio-economic status, affirmative action (or positive discrimination) makes a lot of sense. However, the system that was put in place during the early years of the Republic deserves serious re-evaluation in an era when technology has paved the way for deploying a better equipped arsenal.

Not Excluding Anyone:

  • The Bill promises 10% reservation to individuals classified as economically backward.
  • However, while a number of criteria were discussed in the parliamentary debate, the Bill is quite silent on this. Assuming that among the criteria discussed in Parliament, those that are currently applied to the definition of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) creamy layer are the ones to be used, it is not clear how useful they would be.
  • While the OBC creamy layer has been created to exclude people who are clearly well off, the EWS quota, in contrast, is expected to focus on the poor. One of the criteria — the income threshold of Rs. 8 lakh per annum — has been mentioned.
  • The National Sample Survey (NSS) of 2011-12 shows that the annual per capita expenditure for 99% of households falls under this threshold, even when we take inflation into account.
  • Similarly, as per the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), the annual household incomes of 98% of households are less than Rs. 8 lakh. Even if we apply all the other criteria for exclusion (e.g. amount of land owned and size of home), the Bill would still cover over 95% of the households. So, who are we excluding? Almost no one.
  • While the benefits of the EWS quota are likely to be minimal, the cost may be higher than one anticipates. First, it is important to remember that general category jobs are open to everyone, including Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and OBC individuals.
  • Thus, by removing 10% jobs from the “open” category, it reduces the opportunities for currently reserved groups. Hence, this is by no means a win-win situation. This may be particularly problematic for OBCs since OBC reservation is limited to 27% of the seats whereas the OBC population is at least 40% of the population, possibly more. Thus, this move is almost certain to result in calls for greater OBC reservation, particularly if a constitutional amendment to increase the proportion of reserved seats from 50% to 60% is already being adopted.

Getting caste certificates

  • Second, actual implementation of the EWS quota could be challenging. Few non-SC/ST/OBC individuals have a caste certificate. A large number of SC/ST/OBC households report difficulties in obtaining these certificates. How would an individual practically lay claim to this status?
  • Third, in an era when skill demands are rapidly outpacing supply of candidates in specialised fields, the EWS quota increases the constraints. If a university advertises for an associate professor for quantum physics under the EWS quota and the only suitable candidate happens to be from an OBC category, she could not be hired.
  • Experts point out that these challenges occur for all positions under specifically reserved categories and we have chosen to live with these difficulties in the interest of the greater good of equity. However, there is little benefit to be derived from the EWS quota.

Redesigning reservations

  • Arguably, the greatest cost of this amendment lies in the foregone opportunity to develop an enhanced and more effective reservation policy so that we can genuinely see an end to the entrenched inequalities in Indian society in the medium term. We have gotten so used to business as usual that we make no effort to sharpen our focus and look for more effective solutions, solutions that would make reservations redundant in 50 years.
  • If we were to redesign from scratch, what would an effective affirmative action policy look like? If the goal is to help as many people as possible, we are facing a serious challenge. On the one hand, 50% reservation looks very large; in the grand scheme of India’s population it is a blunt and at times ineffective instrument.
  • The following statistics from the Union Public Service Commission provide a sobering view of ground realities. In 2014, only 0.14% applicants to the UPSC were selected. Moreover, the general category and OBCs have the highest success rate, about 0.17%, and SCs have the lowest, about 0.08%. This may be because of the perception that it is easier for SCs to be recruited via the reserved quota and this may have led to a large number of SCs taking the civil services examination. One might say that many of these candidates are not qualified for these jobs. However, if we look at the candidates who made it past the preliminary examination (providing preliminary quality assurance), the picture is equally grim.
  • Only about 8% of the candidates who took the main examination succeeded. Here the success rate is 8.2-8.3% for SC and ST candidates, 9.9% for OBCs and 7.8% for the general category. This suggests that in spite of the grievances of upper castes, reserved category applicants are not hugely advantaged.
  • The above statistics tell us that in spite of reservations, a vast proportion of reserved category applicants do not find a place via the UPSC examination.
  • Some experts suspect statistics from other fields may tell a similar story. This implies that if we expect reservations to cure the ills of Indian society, we may have a long wait.

Spreading the benefits:

  • Hence, experts suggest that we must think about alternative strategies.
  • One strategy may be to try and spread the benefits of reservations as widely as possible within the existing framework and ensure that individuals use their reserved category status only once in their lifetime. This would require that anyone using reservations to obtain a benefit such as college admission must register his/her Aadhaar number and she would be ineligible to use reservations for another benefit (e.g. a job) in the future. This would require no changes to the basic framework but spread the benefits more broadly within the reserved category allowing a larger number of families to seek upward mobility.
  • A second strategy might be to recognise that future economic growth in India is going to come from the private sector and entrepreneurship. In order to ensure that all Indians, regardless of caste, class and religion, are able to partake in economic growth, we must focus on basic skills.
  • Further, experts suggest that we have focused on admission to prestigious colleges and government jobs, but little attention is directed to social inequality in the quality of elementary schooling. The IHDS shows that among children aged 8-11, 68% of the forward caste children can read at Class 1 level while the proportion is far lower for OBCs (56%), SCs (45%) and STs (40%). This suggests that we need to focus on reducing inequalities where they first emerge, within primary schools.
  • Lastly, the challenge we face is that our mindset is so driven by the reservation system that was developed in a different era that we have not had the time or the inclination to think about its success or to examine possible modifications.

Editorial Analysis:

Who is this reservation for?

  • The constitutional amendment passed by Parliament seeks to expand the concept of reservation, a form of affirmative action, to favour the “economically weaker sections.”
  • Those who are covered by the existing reservation for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the ‘socially and educationally backward classes,’ a constitutional category known in popular parlance as Other Backward Class or OBC, are not eligible for the proposed new reservation of 10%.
  • The amendment makes it clear that the new reservation in public sector jobs and education in both public and private sectors will be above the existing quotas.
  • The Honourable Supreme Court had ruled earlier that the total quantum could not exceed 50%. Experts opine that politically, the move by the Narendra Modi government aims to placate upper caste Hindus, though those not covered by any quota among the followers of other religions too are potential beneficiaries.

What is the problem?

  • The amendment raises questions about its compatibility with the basic structure of the Constitution, which the court has held cannot be altered even by Parliament.
  • A petition has already been filed in the Supreme Court, alleging the amendment violates the basic structure doctrine.
  • The idea of giving 10% reservation to the upper castes also raises other ethical and moral questions that may not be justiciable.
  • It is important to note that reservation is currently covered, primarily under clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15 and clause (4) of Article 16, which allows the State to make special provisions “for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.”
  • The court has examined the concept of ‘socially and educationally backward classes’ and has ruled that caste can be a basis for inclusion in that category.
  • In the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, the court examined the decision of the government to implement the Mandal Commission report that stipulated 27% reservation for OBCs and ruled that economic criteria could not be the sole basis for reservation and the 50% ceiling ought not to be crossed. All these questions will be reopened in the light of the new amendment.

What is the government stand?

  • The government invoked the Directive Principles of State policy contained in Article 46 to defend its proposal for reservation for the economically weaker sections.
  • This could be questionable. Article 46 says “the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.”
  • The “economically weaker sections of citizens were not eligible for the benefit of reservation. With a view to fulfilling the mandate of Article 46, and to ensure that the economically weaker sections of citizens get a fair chance of receiving higher education and participation in employment in the services of the state, it has been decided to amend the Constitution of India,” the amendment Bill stated.

Will it benefit the poor?

  • In the Indra Sawhney judgment, the court had said: “…the concept of ‘weaker sections’ under Article 46 is different from that of the ‘backward class’ of citizens in Article 16(4), but the purpose of the two is also different.
  • One is for the limited purpose of the reservation and hence suffers from limitations, while the other is for all purposes under Article 46… While those entitled to benefits under Article 16(4) may also be entitled to availing themselves of the measures taken under Article 46, the converse is not true.
  • If this is borne in mind, the reasons why mere poverty or economic consideration cannot be a criterion for identifying backward classes of citizens under Article 16(4) would be more clear.” Whether the economically weaker sections among the OBCs, the SCs or the STs could be excluded from reservation meant for the economically weaker sections is a contentious question.

Category: INDIAN ECONOMY; SECURITY

 

2. The lowdown on HAL’s order book

Editorial Analysis:

  • Experts point out that the Defence Public Sector Undertaking and the country’s only manufacturer of aircraft, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has been caught in the political slugfest over the Rafale deal on the offset issue.
  • However, recently, it has been in the news for its order book and financial situation.
  • It is important to note that HAL makes a range of aircraft — including fighter jets and trainers — and helicopters, both indigenously developed and under licence from foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
  • For the year ended March 2018, HAL posted a turnover of Rs. 18,284 crore. But HAL is facing a financial crunch owing to non-payment of dues and lack of new firm contracts. In fact, last week HAL said it had taken an overdraft of Rs. 962 crore for salaries and running costs.
  • Recently in Parliament, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said HAL had orders worth Rs. 1 lakh crore, later explaining that it includes deals worth Rs. 26,570.8 crore signed between 2014 and 2018 and contracts worth Rs. 73,000 crore in the pipeline. Those in the pipeline include 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-1A jets worth Rs. 50,000 crore, 200 helicopters under a joint venture with Russia worth Rs. 20,000 crore, and 15 indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) worth Rs. 3,000 crore.

A Closer Look at the current situation of HAL

  • The current situation of HAL is due to a combination of factors — primarily the non-payment of dues by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for orders executed and under way, most of the existing orders coming to an end and a delay in finalisation of new contracts.
  • HAL also has several development programmes which need funding till the services accept them and pitch in with their share.
  • HAL Chairman R. Madhavan recently said the IAF owed HAL money for aircraft, helicopters and services that it had already delivered with current dues pegged at Rs. 15,700 crore, which will rise to Rs. 20,000 crore by March 31, 2019.
  • In addition, over the years HAL has paid large amounts to the government as part of equity buy-back and dividends which also depleted its coffers.
  • On the contrary, the IAF has been paying foreign OEMs for committed liabilities which otherwise attract penalties.
  • For instance, it paid Rs. 20,000 crore to Dassault Aviation of France for the 36 Rafale jets contracted and to Boeing for Apache and Chinook helicopters, among others.
  • The weak financial situation can affect future programmes and hamper regular maintenance activities that HAL undertakes for the IAF.

Concluding Remarks:

  • The country’s indigenous fighter programme LCA is at a critical stage with the final operational clearance nearing and the advanced variant Mk1A making delayed progress.
  • HAL is setting up another assembly line to ramp up LCA production and is developing the HTT-40 basic trainer and a Light Utility Helicopter (LCU) on its own, based on the demands of the services.
  • The fund crunch affects salaries and running costs. Also as contracts come to an end, the work force will have to be benched. For instance, HAL’s biggest contract, the licence manufacture of Su-30 jets from Russia, is nearing completion.
  • Additionally, the delay in finalisation of new orders affects timely planning and supply chain management.
  • Finally, after the recent developments, the Defence Ministry has made some moves to address the issue. Officials said the Ministry has sought funds from the Finance Ministry to help HAL.
  • Earlier this week, HAL officials met Ms. Sitharaman and the three services chiefs. HAL has also stated that with anticipated collections up to March 2019, the cash position is expected to improve and in terms of future orders, final contracts for 83 LCA Mk1A and 15 LCH are in advanced stages.
  • Nonetheless, the developments are a matter of serious concern for the country and warrant immediate government attention to set things in order.

 

 

F. Tidbits

 

1. ‘Mental health apps have gaps in information’

  • Mental health and well-being, often the subject of self-help books, is now the focus of apps by entrepreneurs identifying a need for them among teenagers and young working professionals.
  • Apps, some of them available for a subscription fee, promise to address mental health issues ranging from anxiety to depression. But how effective are they?
  • Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) reviewed 278 free apps for depression to find that only a little over a third included content aimed at encouraging users to seek professional help. This was one of the findings of the study published in the Asian Journal of Psychiatry.
  • Many apps offer online consultation, a social network for dealing with stressful situations, screening tests, different forms of meditation, audio and visual aids, with a focus on meditation and relaxation. The two most popular types of apps provided information on coping with depression and framed standalone screening tools.
  • However, less than 10% of the apps studied had incorporated explicit delineation of their scope, and only 12% of the reviewed apps guided users on managing a ‘suicidal crisis’
 

2. Quota Bill gets President’s assent, becomes law

  • President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday gave his assent to the Constitution amendment that provides 10% reservation to the economically backward section in the general category in government jobs and education.
  • With the Ministry for Law and Justice issuing a notification about the Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 receiving the Presidential assent, reservation for the economically weaker among general category is now law.
  • The Act amends Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution — ensuring Fundamental Rights to a citizen — by adding a clause that allows the State to make “special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens”.
  • These provisions would relate to “their admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions”.
  • The Act makes it clear that reservation would be “in addition to the existing reservations and subject to a maximum of 10% of the total seats in each category”.
  • Unlike other Constitutional Bills that require ratification from half of the State Assemblies, the Law Minister had clarified that this Act would not require such a process
 

G. Prelims Facts

 

1. ‘Monkey fever’ cases hit 62 in Shivamogga

Context

  • The outbreak of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD), also known as ‘monkey fever’ in Malnad region of the district, is showing no signs of abating as four cases have now been reported from Tirthahalli taluk. The earlier cases were reported in Sagar taluk.
  • With this, the total number of KFD cases in the district since December 2018 has reached 62. Six persons from Aralagodu died during this period.

Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD)

  • Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) or Monkey Fever is a tick-borne viral hemorrhagic fever endemic to South Asia.
  • The disease is caused by a virus belonging to the family Flaviviridae, which also includes yellow fever and dengue fever.
  • The symptoms of the disease include a high fever with frontal headaches, followed by haemorrhagic symptoms, such as bleeding from the nasal cavity, throat, and gums, as well as gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • The virus was identified in 1957 when it was isolated from a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest of Karnataka. Since then, between 400-500 humans cases per year have been reported.
  • Hard ticks (Hemaphysalis spinigera) are the reservoir of the KFD virus and once infected, remain so for life.
  • Rodents, shrews, and monkeys are common hosts for KFDV after being bitten by an infected tick. KFDV can cause epizootics with high fatality in primates.
  • Transmission to humans may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal, most importantly a sick or recently dead monkey. No person-to-person transmission has been described.
  • The disease as of now is stated to be transmitted through monkeys. Large animals such as goats, cows, and sheep may become infected with KFD but play a limited role in the transmission of the disease. Furthermore, there is no evidence of disease transmission via the unpasteurised milk of any of these animals.
  • People with recreational or occupational exposure to rural or outdoor settings (e.g., hunters, herders, forest workers, farmers) are potentially at risk for infection by contact with infected ticks.
  • Seasonality is another important risk factor as more cases are reported during the dry season, from November through June.
  • Diagnosis can be made in the early stage of illness by molecular detection by PCR or virus isolation from blood. Later, serologic testing using enzyme-linked immunosorbent serologic assay (ELISA) can be performed.
 

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Question 1. Consider the following Terms /Context / Topic
  1. Belle 2 experiment – Artificial Intelligence
  2. Block chain technology – Digital Crypto currency
  3. CRISPR – Cas9 – Particle Physics

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

  1. 1 and 3 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

See

Answer
Question 2. Which of the following indicators is related to poverty measurement?
  1. Head Count Ratio
  2. Ginni- coefficient
  3. Laffer curve
  4. Kuznets curve

See

Answer
Question 3. Which of the following measure have been used by the government to address the situation of poverty in India?
  1. Development oriented growth measures
  2. Meeting the minimum needs of the poor.
  3. Specific poverty alleviation programmes

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

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

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Dr. Rangarajan poverty estimation methodology:
  1. It reverted to system of separate poverty line category for rural and urban areas.
  2. It recommended use of “modified mixed reference period”

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

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

See

Answer
 

I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

  1. The government has announced the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). This is the first ever effort in the country to frame a national framework for air quality management with a time-bound reduction target. Discuss the key features of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) (10 Marks; 150 words)
  2. Demographic dividend is said to be occurring when the ratio of the working age population is high and the dependency ratio in terms of proportion of children and elderly people low. Analyse the concept of demographic dividend in the context of India (10 Marks; 150 words)

See previous CNA