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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 13th April 2019
Published on April 14, 2019, 8:07 p.m.

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 13th April 2019

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Manufacturing crashes to a 20-month low

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and issues related to it; Growth and Development

In news:

  • Industrial growth slowed in February to 0.1% owing to an across-the-board slowdown, while consumer inflation quickened in March.
  • Growth in the Index of Industrial Production slowed in February.
  • Within the Index, mining and quarrying saw growth slowing.
  • Manufacturing saw a contraction of 0.31% in February from a 1.05% growth in January.

Election Commission bans release of biopics

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian Polity and Governance

In news:

  • Election Commission banned the release of the biopic (a film on PM Narendra Modi)
  • EC ruled that any poster or publicity material concerning any such certified content, which either depicts a candidate for the furtherance of electoral prospect, directly or indirectly, shall not be put to display in print media, without the prescribed instructions of pre-certification in the area where model code of conduct (MCC) is in operation.

Do you know?

  • Any cinematograph material, certified by the appropriate authority, if there exists such a violation or on receipt of complains in this regard, shall be examined by a committee duly constituted by the commission, which will then suggest appropriate action.
  • The committee would be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or retired Chief Justice of any High Court.

What the constitution says?

  • Under Article 324 of the constitution, superintendence, directions and control of elections are bestowed upon the commission and it is its main duty to take necessary measures to create a level playing field and provide a conducive electoral environment to all the stakeholders.
  • According to the commission, Political contents such as biopic pose a serious threat to the level playing field, as they may create an impression of the truthfulness of such content being shown through television, cinema, internet-based entertainment programmes or the social media.

Plea to remove dual control of Assam Rifles

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Governance issues; Defence or Security issues

In news:

  • The Delhi High Court has sought response from Cabinet Secretary, Government of India, on a petition seeking directions to bring the Assam Rifles out of the dual control of the Union Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry (MoD).

Do you know?

  • The Assam Rifles (AR) is a Central Para Military Force (CPMF) along with two other forces — Special Frontier Force and Coast Guard.
  • However, only the Assam Rifles functions under the administrative control of the Union Home Ministry.

‘Display information on 7 common antibiotics’

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Issues related to health; Social/Welfare issue

In news:

Pic: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/2tuxdh/article26823574.ece/ALTERNATES/FREE_960/Drug

  • The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has asked manufacturers of several common antibiotics to place safety warning on above listed drugs, after reports of adverse drug reactions.
  • The Pharmacovigilance Programme of India (PvPI) that collects and evaluates reports of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) has reported that people using common antibiotic Ofloxacin are at greater risk of developing Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
  • The PvPI has therefore suggested India’s drug regulatory body Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) to take necessary steps to incorporate the adverse drug reactions in the prescribing leaflet of these drugs marketed in the country.

Do you know?

  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a rare and fatal disorder of skin and another potentially life-threatening dermatologic disorder called toxic epidermal necrolysis.
  • India earlier depended on foreign agencies to learn about adverse drug reactions. The PvPI programme was started in 2010 to make a robust mechanism for patient safety.
  • The PvPI programme is run by the government with the objective of ensuring the consumers and doctors know about the adverse drug reaction well on time.

The information of adverse drug reactions on drugs is important given the India faces a problem of misuse of antibiotics.

About Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO):

  • It is the national regulatory body for Indian pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
  • Within the CDSCO, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) regulates pharmaceutical and medical devices, under the gamut of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The DCGI is advised by the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and the Drug Consultative Committee (DCC).
  • It is divided into zonal offices which do pre-licensing and post-licensing inspections, post-market surveillance, and recalls when needed.

PM Modi to get Russia’s highest civilian award

In news:

  • Russia announced that President Vladimir Putin will confer its highest civilian award, the ‘Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First’, on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his work on bilateral ties.
  • The order was presented to the Prime Minister of India for his distinguished contribution to the development of a privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India and friendly ties between the Russian and Indian peoples.

(MAINS FOCUS)


SOCIAL/WELFARE ISSUE

TOPIC: General studies 1 and 2
  • Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources; poverty and hunger
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

Necessary Steps to End Poverty

Context:

  • India is uniquely placed to drive global poverty reduction. It is home to the largest number of poor people in the world, as well as the largest number of people who have recently escaped poverty.
  • Despite there had been a focus on poverty since 50 years ago, we are unable to eradicate it. This is because the approach of public policy to the problem has been to initiate schemes which could serve as no more than a palliative, as suggested by the very term 'poverty alleviation’ commonly used in the discourse of this time.
  • These schemes failed to go to the root of poverty, which is capability deprivation that leaves an individual unable to earn sufficient income through work or entrepreneurship.
  • Income poverty is a manifestation of the deprivation, and focusing exclusively on the income shortfall schemes guaranteeing income to the poor through budgetary transfers, such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, or Nyuntam Aay Yojana, can address only the symptom.

Concerns:

There are some concerns with existing programmes:

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan):

  • It promised to pay farm households below a threshold Rs. 6,000 a year.
  • An income-support scheme for any one section of the population is grossly inequitable.
  • Agricultural labourers and urban pavement dwellers are as equally deserving of support as poor farmers.
  • While it is the case that at present agricultural subsidies go to farmers alone, these are intended as production subsidies and so channeled due to the criticality of food production to all.
  • On the other hand, a welfare programme cannot, ethically speaking, exclude those equally placed.

Nyuntam Aay Yoiana (NYAY):

  • It envisages an annual transfer 12 times greater to the poorest 20% households.
  • While this scheme is not discriminatory, it is severely challenged by the issue of beneficiary identification in real time.
  • And moreover at 13% of Budget outlay, NYAY would amount to more than twice the combined expenditure on health and education and more than capital expenditure in the same budget, they being the items of public expenditure that most impact poverty in the long run.
  • There is an opportunity cost to be acknowledged of an income-support scheme of this magnitude being implemented while there exists a severe deficit of social and physical infrastructure in the country.

The way ahead: Poverty Eradication

  • Poverty should be seen as capability deprivation.
  • Health, education and physical infrastructure are central to the capabilities of individuals, and the extents of their presence in a society determine whether the poor will remain so or exit in poverty permanently.
  • The scale at which these inputs would be required to endow all Indians with the requisite capabilities makes it more than likely that we would have to rely on public provision.

Focus should be on UBS than UBI

  • In light of a pitch that has been made for the implementation in India of a publicly-funded universal basic income (UBI) scheme, we can say that from the perspective of eliminating poverty, universal basic services (UBS) from public sources are needed, though not necessarily financed through the budget.
  • There is indirect evidence that the provision of health, education and public services matters more for poverty than the Central government's poverty alleviation schemes in place for almost half a century.

For example:

  • Per capita income levels and poverty vary across India's States. A discernible pattern is that the southern and western regions of India have lower poverty than the northern, central and eastern ones.
  • This, very likely, is related to higher human development attainment in the former. This indicator is based on the health and education status of a population apart from per capita income, bringing us back to the relevance of income generation to poverty.
  • As the Central government is common across regions, differences in the human development index must arise from policies implemented at the State level.
  • This further implies that a nationwide income support scheme that channels funds from a common pool to households in the poorer States would be tantamount to rewarding lower effort by their governments.

Conclusion:

The original case for a UBI came from European economists. Europe is perhaps saturated with publicly provided UBS. This is not the case in India, where the task of creating the wherewithal for providing public services has not even been seriously initiated.

  • There is a crucial role for services, of both producer and consumer variety, in eliminating the capability deprivation that is poverty.
  • As these services cannot always be purchased in the market, income support alone cannot be sufficient to eliminate poverty.
  • It is in recognition of the role of services in enabling people to lead a productive and dignified life that the idea of multi-dimensionality has taken hold in the thinking on poverty globally.
  • There are no short cuts to ending poverty, but ending it soon is not insurmountable either.

Connecting the dots:

  • In terms of poverty eradication, what are the challenges faced by India? Elucidate
  • Poverty is a disease which engulfs prosperity if not diagnosed and treated properly. Explain.

NATIONAL/GOVERNANCE

TOPIC: General studies 2 and 3
  • Important aspects of governance 
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Issues related to Internal Security 

Udhampur-Baramulla highway ban and its impacts

Context:

  • Recently the Jammu & Kashmir Home Department issued the ban on civilian traffic for two days a week on the 271-km stretch of National Highway 44 between Udhampur in Jammu and Baramulla in Kashmir, which came into force on April 7.
  • The ban, which is to last till May 31, is supposedly to enable the orderly conduct of the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, in the light of the tragic February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy on NH 44 at Pulwama, that killed 40 personnel.
  • On Sundays and Wednesdays, between 4 a.m. and 5 p.m., only pre-determined categories of civilian traffic will be allowed on the highway with clearance from the authorities.
  • For the rest of the time, the highway will be given over to the movement of troops. As a measure to prevent another Pulwama-type attack.
  • However the ban is draconian in nature and ill advised.

Why the ban is draconian in nature and ill advised?

1. Because of the criticality of the Highway:

  • NH 44 is the lifeline of the State, it is vital to move goods (including perishable agricultural produce), and along it lie many educational and medical institutions.
  • The national highway is not just the only road link that connects Kashmir to the outside world but also the key highway that connects Srinagar with the southern and northern districts of the Valley.
  • Therefore a ban means a virtual lockdown of the Valley for two days every week.
  • In many cases, avoiding the stretch would greatly multiply the time and distance between two points.

2. Aganist the principle of Good Governance and Rights of Citizens:

  • Though, the government is at pains to emphasise that exceptions are in place for those in medical emergencies, lawyers, doctors, tourists, government employees, students, and so on.
  • But such a system of permits and bans militates against the freedom of movement at the heart of a democratic society.
  • To be sure, even before the ban, civilian traffic has not moved on the highway unfettered by checks. Such is the security challenge in J&K.
  • But to officially segregate civilian traffic is to put people’s lives at the mercy of a calendar, and to invite confusion about the organising principles of Indian troop deployment.
  • The restrictions violate Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

3. Will further alienate Kashmiris:

  • The ban also positions the administration against the people, as has become clear from the political and legal challenges to the traffic restrictions.
  • In a State that is already under President’s Rule, it has pushed the political class and the administration farther apart.
  • Overall it further increased the feeling of alienation of Kashmiris with the mainstream India.

Way Ahead:

  • It is important to double up security protocol while achieving Good Governance.
  • The Pulwama attack was a wake-up call about the security drills in place to prevent terrorist strikes. It demanded an appraisal, so that the lives of soldiers and civilians alike can be secured.
  • However, to throw civilians out of gear — as they were on the first day of the highway ban, on April 7 — defies logic.

The effect of any response to the Pulwama attack ought not to be an increased alienation that places troops and local people in an us-versus-them timetable. It must, instead, be a doubling up of the security protocol to make life more secure and hassle-free for civilians and soldiers alike.


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