21 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
HEALTH ISSUES
1. The ‘Cough’ campaign
2. TB in India: Stringent Rules
GOVERNANCE
1. Supreme Court passes slew of directions to safeguard govt officials under SC/ST Act
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Government scraps sugar export tax, trade sees marginal long-term impact
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
1. Water Crisis
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: HEALTH ISSUES

1. The ‘Cough’ campaign

 

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) relaunched ‘Cough’ — a national mass media campaign to warn citizens about how tobacco use is linked to TB. An announcement to this effect was made during the ‘End TB’ summit recently held in New Delhi.
  • The ‘Cough’ campaign focuses on raising awareness about how tobacco consumption and exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke increases the risks of TB and TB-related fatalities. A key barrier to timely diagnosis and treatment among smokers is the assumption that a cough is related to their smoking, said experts. The campaign encourages smokers to visit doctors to confirm if persistent cough is a sign of TB.
  • TB killed as many as 4,32,000 Indians in 2016 — more than 1,183 every day. The central government has planned to eliminate TB from India by 2025, five years ahead of the global TB elimination target of 2030. The campaign has been designed to generate support for TB eradication, encourage smokers to quit, and increase timely diagnosis and treatment of TB. The campaign was developed and implemented with the technical support of Vital Strategies, stated a press release issued on Tuesday.
  • Most of the TB-related deaths in India occur among young, economically-productive adults and the disease is one of the top five causes of death among people between the 30 and 69.
  • India’s tobacco epidemic is contributing to this burden. ‘Cough’ will support progress towards the target of eliminating TB by 2025 by encouraging smokers to quit and ensuring that smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke visit the doctor to check what persistent cough means.
  • This is a life-saving message and we congratulate MoHFW on the relaunch of this important campaign.
  • India became the first country in the world to run a national tobacco control campaign with the launch of ‘Cough’ on World No Tobacco Day in 2017.
  • Cough — a public service announcement (PSA) launched as part of the anti-tobacco campaign — graphically shows how a smoker’s persistent cough (over two weeks or more) hints at TB. The PSA shows a father smoking and coughing beside his daughter, noting that exposure to second-hand smoke brings the same risks. It ends with the stark warning that “Every beedi, cigarette brings you and those around you closer to TB.”
  • To ensure a pan-India reach, ‘Cough’ will be broadcast in 17 languages for ten consecutive days on public service broadcasters like Doordarshan and All India Radio. It will also run for two weeks on major digital platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, Hotstar and Voot.
  • In advance of its initial launch in 2017, ‘Cough’ was rigorously pretested with a target audience who found that it was “easy to understand”, “believable”, “made respondents stop and think”, and “made respondents feel more concerned” about smoking around others.
  • The PSA also made respondents “feel sympathetic to those with TB”, “made them feel concerned about symptoms of TB”, “made them more likely to visit a doctor if they had TB symptoms”, and “increased their confidence to take TB medications if they were sick”.

2. TB in India: Stringent Rules

 

  • With an aim to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) in India, the Centre has issued stringent rules. The Union Health Ministry has issued a notification stating that doctors, druggists, chemists and hospital authorities could face a jail term of six months to two years under the provisions of Sections 269 and 270. Section 269 states negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life and IPC 270 states malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life.
  • Notably, one can be punished with a six months jail term or fine under Section 269. Section 270 provides a jail term of two years or fine. The notification also says if a clinical establishment fail to notify TB patient to local public health staff and nodal officer, it will face action.
  • Notably, in our country, TB was defined as a notifiable disease in 2012. However, there was no provision for penal action. Clinical Establishment Act, 2010 defines clinical establishments which include diagnostic services, dispensaries, hospitals and clinics. This act also defines the centre operated by single doctor.
  • To ensure proper tuberculosis diagnosis and its management in patients and their contacts and to reduce tuberculosis transmission and further to address the problems of emergence and spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis, it is essential to collect complete information of all tuberculosis patients.
  • Healthcare providers, termed as clinical establishments henceforth, shall notify every tuberculosis patient to local public health authority, namely, district health officer or chief medical officer of a district and municipal health officer of urban local bodies in whatever way they are known; or their designated district tuberculosis officers in a format as specified,” The Union Health Ministry said in its notification.
  • Recently, PM Modi had launched a TB-free India campaign. While attending End-TB Summit in Delhi, PM Modi said that the government has been following the principle of “treat every TB patient best at the very first opportunity”.
  • It has been learnt that TB kills an estimated 4,80,000 Indians every year. India also has more than a million ‘missing’ cases every year — these are not notified, and most remain either undiagnosed or inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector.

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. Supreme Court passes slew of directions to safeguard govt officials under SC/ST Act

 

  • A government official cannot be automatically arrested under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
  • A bench comprising justices U.U. Lalit and A.K. Goel held that a public servant could be arrested only after approval of the appointing authority and of a non-public servant after approval by the Senior Superintendent of Police, if considered necessary for reasons recorded.
  • To avoid false implication of an innocent, a preliminary enquiry may be conducted by the deputy superintendent concerned to find out whether the allegations make out a case under the Act and that the allegations are not frivolous or motivated.
  • The court was hearing an appeal filed one by Subhash Kashinath Mahajan against a Bombay high court ruling refusing to quash the FIR lodged against him for offences alleged under the Act.
  • The court further observed, “If the allegation is to be acted upon, the proceedings can result in arrest or prosecution of the person and have serious consequences on his right to liberty even on a false complaint which may not be intended by law meant for protection of a bonafide victim.”

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Government scraps sugar export tax, trade sees marginal long-term impact

 

  • The government has abolished the 20 per cent export duty on sugar to boost overseas sales, but traders and some industry players said it isn’t enough to absorb the domestic surplus and could just have a momentary impact on prices.
  • The duty was abolished amid a strong upsurge in sugar production for 2017-18 season that started in October from 26 million tonnes to over 29 million tonnes.
  • With consumption expected at around 25 million tonnes, the country is projected to have a surplus of around 4-5 million tonnes.
  • However, traders said abolition of sugar export tax would help push out just 100,000-150,000 tonnes of sugar mostly to neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal as everywhere else global prices are weak.
  • Raw sugar futures have slipped almost 18 per cent in the New York market this year owning to global surplus.
  • Domestically, ex-mill prices in most places have dropped to around Rs 2,900-3,000 per quintal, while the total cost of production is somewhere around Rs 3,000-3,500 per quintal.
  • This means that for every quintal of sugarcane crushed, the mills are losing around Rs 400-500. This mismatch has once again lowered the capacity of mills to pay to farmers on time, something which has led to arrears mounting to more than Rs 140 billion as on December 31, 2017.
  • Before, the Narendra Modi government took charge the cumulative sugarcane arrears nationally stood at around Rs 21,000 crore and the current cane arrears are also threatening to reach those levels.
  • Mills are demanding some kind of export subsidy to ensure that greater quantities of the sweetener could be export both in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • Also, strictly implementing the mandatory ethanol blending programme at the start of 2018-19 might also help.
  • Sugar mills are incurring losses as compared to their cost of production of around Rs 3,500-3,600 per quintal.They are unable to pay cane price to the farmers on time.
  • India needs to export at least 2 million tonnes of sugar in 2017-18 and another 4-5 million tonnes in 2018-19.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

1. Water Crisis

 

  • As World Water Day draws closer (March 22), this year’s World Water Development Report makes it clear that nature-based solutions — which are also aligned with the principles and aims of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — can offer answers to our most pressing water-related challenges. Business-as-usual approaches to water security are no longer viable.
  • Nature-based solutions hold great promise in areas which also include sustainable food production, improved human settlements, access to drinking water supplies and sanitation, water-related disaster risk reduction, and helping to respond to the impact of climate change on water resources.

Water hotspots

  • The water-related challenges we face today are immense. The world’s population is expected to increase from 7.6 billion (2017) to between 9.4 and 10.2 billion people (2050), with two-thirds of them living in cities. UN estimates are that more than half of this anticipated growth will be in Africa (1.3 billion) and Asia (0.75 billion). Therefore, those most in need of water will be in developing or emerging economies.
  • Climate change is also impacting the global water cycle with wetter regions generally becoming wetter and drier regions drier. An estimated 3.6 billion people now live in areas that could face water scarcity for at least a month in a year, with that number increasing to 4.8 and 5.7 billion by 2050. The International Water Management Institute estimates that total demand could increase from 680 billion cubic metres (BCM) to 833 BCM by 2025, and to 900 BCM by 2050.
  • By 2050, countries already facing water scarcity challenges may also be forced to cope with the decreased availability of surface water resources. India faces major threats to its water security, with most water bodies near urban centres heavily polluted. Inter-State disputes over river resources are also becoming more intense and widespread.

Deteriorating water quality

  • Along with water scarcity, there is the issue of water quality. Since the 1990s, water pollution has worsened in most rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). An estimated 80% of industrial and municipal wastewater is released without any prior treatment, with detrimental impacts on human health and ecosystems. Given the transboundary nature of most river basins, regional cooperation will be critical to addressing projected water quality challenges.
  • A Central Pollution Control Board report indicates that almost half of India’s inter-State rivers are polluted. Sewage from 650 cities and towns along 302 polluted river stretches in the country increased from 38,000 million litres per day (MLD) in 2009 to 62,000 MLD in 2015. It found that the untreated sewage and industrial waste was a major cause of pollution in 16 of 40 inter-State rivers in the country.
  • Nature-based solutions can address overall water scarcity through “supply-side management,” and are recognised as the main solution to achieving sustainable water for agriculture.
  • Environmentally-friendly agricultural systems like those which use practices such as conservation tillage, crop diversification, legume intensification and biological pest control work as well as intensive, high-input systems. The environmental co-benefits of nature-based solutions to increasing sustainable agricultural production are substantial as there are decreased pressures on land conversion and reduced pollution, erosion and water requirements.
  • Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment can also be a cost-effective, nature-based solution that provides effluent of adequate quality for several non-potable uses (irrigation) and additional benefits that include energy production.
  • Such systems already exist in nearly every region of the world. Natural and constructed wetlands also biodegrade or immobilise a range of emerging pollutants. Recent experiments suggest that for some emerging pollutants, nature-based solutions work better than “grey” solutions, and in certain cases may be the only viable option.
  • Watershed management is another nature-based solution that is seen not only as a complement to built or “grey” infrastructure but also one that could also spur local economic development, job creation, biodiversity protection and climate resilience.
  • Nature-based solutions are closely aligned with traditional and local knowledge including those held by indigenous and tribal peoples in the context of water variability and change.

Case of Chennai

  • Chennai in Tamil Nadu is a textbook example of how nature is being ignored in urban development-posed challenges. Unplanned urban development and unwieldy growth with no hydrological plan are causing many problems. Earlier, when there was heavy rain in catchment areas in the Chennai region, lakes, ponds, tanks, rivers and inter-linked drainage systems helped replenish groundwater, hold back some water and release the excess to the ocean.
  • With development, a number of tanks and lakes in and around Chennai have been encroached upon by various stakeholders. Major rivers and canals such as the Cooum, Adyar and Buckingham Canal which are meant to carry excess rainwater to the Bay of Bengal now serve as the city’s drainage outlets. The Pallikaranai marsh which acted as a sponge to soak up excess rainwater is now an over-run.
  • Nature-based solutions are crucial to achieving our Sustainable Development Goals. Adopting them will not only improve water management but also achieve water security.

Category: JUDICIARY

1. Separate freedoms

K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India

  • The Central government postulated a thesis saying Constitution does not recognise a fundamental right to privacy.
  • One of the fundamental boards of this accommodation spun around a thought that protection was an absolutely elitist concern, that a freedom of this kind, at whatever point and wherever it can be guaranteed, will dependably be abrogated by the administration’s obligations in a welfare state.
  • The court indicated us, from a certain perspective, that it was eager to treat each subject with meet poise, care and regard, that the sacredness of rights was not restrictive on a man’s situation in the public eye.

Protecting privacy

  • “The refrain that the poor need no civil and political rights and are concerned only with economic well-being has been utilised through history to wreak the most egregious violations of human rights,” wrote Justice D.Y. Chandrachud in his opinion on behalf of himself and three others.
  • “Every individual in society irrespective of social class or economic status is entitled to the intimacy and autonomy which privacy protects… The pursuit of happiness is founded upon autonomy and dignity. Both are essential attributes of privacy which makes no distinction between the birth marks of individuals.” Justice R.F. Nariman, in his separate opinion, was equally dismissive of the government’s arguments.
  • As it were, the court recognized that the state wasn’t helping anybody out by giving them advantages and appropriations — these were as much a privilege that sprang from the Constitution as alternate flexibilities spilling out of the report’s content.

Selective extension

  • Court extended the government-mandated deadline on linking Aadhaar to different services, including one’s banking and mobile phone accounts, until it delivers a final judgment.
  • But, it refused to grant a similar extension for notifications made under Section 7 of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016.
  • These notifications make a person’s entitlement to a host of welfare schemes, including subsidy programmes, conditional on the individual possessing an Aadhaar number.

Aren’t citizens enrolled to receive benefits from government entitled to the same freedoms as others?

  • Originally, the state told us that by providing every Indian a unique identity number, by collecting biometric information from us, including our fingerprints and iris scans, the government can ensure an equitable distribution of benefits to the poor.

Problems with this vision

  • It lacked any legislative backing, and was, therefore, clearly introduced without due process.
  • State displayed a complete lack of care or concern for a person’s right to privacy, in commencing a project, which it couldn’t have even been sure, would satisfy its purported objectives.
  • As a result, several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, questioning the project’s constitutional validity.
  • Court judgment pronounced that the production of an Aadhaar card, cannot be made mandatory for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen.
  • Additionally, Aadhaar could only be used for a specific list of purposes, such as the enforcement of schemes under the Public Distribution System.

Clause on subsidy

  • Supreme Court, the Union government introduced in the Lok Sabha a draft legislation, in the form of a money bill, with a view to legitimising the creation of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which runs the Aadhaar programme.
  • This law describes enrolment with the UIDAI as voluntary.
  • But, in Section 7, it authorises both the Central and State governments to make Aadhaar mandatory for anyone wishing to receive a subsidy, benefit or service, for which expenses are borne from the Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Although this clause, at the same time, demands that the government must accept alternate proofs of identity from persons without an Aadhaar number, since the law’s enactment the state has notified more than 130 schemes in which beneficiaries of different welfare measures have been mandated to enrol with the UIDAI.
  • Now, although the deadline for seeding Aadhaar with these services expires on March 31, much like the deadline for linking Aadhaar for the purposes of the schemes notified under Section 7, the benefit of the Supreme Court’s interim order, delivered last week, will enure only to the former.

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Consider the following statements about Copernicus Programme:
  1. Copernicus is the world’s largest single earth observation Programme.
  2. It is directed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Sariska Tiger Reserve:
  1. It is a national park and a tiger reserve.
  2. It is a part of the Aravalli Range.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements about Ranthambore National Park:
  1. Ranthambhore wildlife sanctuary is known for its Bengal tigers.
  2. It is bounded to the north by the Banas River and to the south by the Chambal River.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 4. Consider the following statements about Merchandise Exports from India 
Scheme (MEIS):
  1. It was introduced to promote exports.
  2. The idea is to offset the infrastructural inefficiencies faced by exports of specified goods and to provide a level playing field.

Which of the statements are correct?

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

See

Answer
Question 5. Which of these schemes fall under export promotion schemes in India?
  1. Export promotion capital goods scheme
  2. Special economic zones
  3. Duty-free import authorisation scheme
  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 1 only
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies III (Economy)

  1. Is it time for India to move away from export subsidies and invest in trade-related infrastructure and trade facilitation measures. Examine.

General Studies II (Education)

  1. Poor standards of tertiary education are a drag on India’s competitiveness. Elucidate. What has the Govt done in the past to overcome this issue? Also, suggest suitable reforms.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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