Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 August 2016

Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 August 2016


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Cabinet approves introduction of the “Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016”


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for introduction of the “Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016”. Once passed, the new legislation will apply to all of India except Jammu and Kashmir.

Salient features of the Bill:

  • The draft surrogacy Bill aims at regulating commissioning of surrogacy in the country in a proper manner.
  • The Bill aims to prevent exploitation of women, especially those in rural and tribal areas.
  • The Bill promises to ensure parentage of children born out of surrogacy is “legal and transparent.”
  • The new Bill proposes complete ban on commercial surrogacy.
  • As per the Bill, only legally—wedded Indian couples can have children through surrogacy, provided at least one of them have been proven to have fertility-related issues.
  • Foreigners, even Overseas Indians, are barred from commissioning surrogacy.
  • A woman will be allowed to become a surrogate mother only for altruistic purpose and under no circumstances money shall be paid to her, except for medical expenses.
  • Unmarried couples, single parents, live—in partners and homosexuals cannot opt for surrogacy as per the new bill.
  • Surrogacy regulation board will be set-up at Central and State-level.

Why legislation in this regard is necessary?

  • India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from different countries and there have been reported incidents concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets of intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes.
  • Widespread condemnation of commercial surrogacy prevalent in India has also been regularly published in different print-and electronic media since last few years highlighting the need to prohibit commercial surrogacy and allow ethical altruistic surrogacy.
  • The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has also recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy Indian citizens by enacting a suitable legislation.

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for the couple who want to have a child. There is also gestational surrogacy, wherein eggs from the mother are fertilised with the father’s/donor’s sperm and then the embryo is placed into the uterus of the surrogate, who carries the child to term and delivers it. In this case, the biological mother is still the woman whose eggs are used, while the surrogate is called the birth mother.

Why opt for surrogacy?

Couples opt for surrogacy when traditional means of conceiving a child have failed, this also includes in-vitro fertilisation, or it is dangerous for the couple to get pregnant and give birth. The following medical conditions usually necessitate surrogacy:

  • Malformation of or infection in the womb.
  • Absence or removal of womb by hysterectomy.
  • Recurring miscarriages.
  • Repeated failure of IVF.
  • Other conditions that make impossible or risky for a woman, such as severe heart disease.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist / Communal / Left Wing Extremist Violence and Cross Border Firing and Mine/IED Blasts on Indian Territory


The Union Cabinet has given its approval to enhance the grant of compensation to the civilian victims under the scheme titled “Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist/ Communal/Left Wing Extremist (LWE), Cross Border Firing and Mine/IED blasts on Indian Territory” from Rs.3 lakhs to Rs.5 lakhs.

The highlights of the scheme are as follows:

  • For the first time, civilian victims of cross border firing along the Indo-Pak border will be given a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh similar to those who die due to terrorism or LWE violence.
  • Now onwards, any civilian who dies anywhere in the country due to terror attack, LWE violence, firing from across the border, shelling or IED explosion will be given Rs.5 iakh as compensation uniformly. The amount will be given to the next of kin of the victim.
  • 5 lakh will also be given to those who receive 50% or more disability or incapacitation due to the same reasons.
  • The compensation amount will be given subject to the condition that no employment has been provided to any of the family members of the victims by State or Central Government.
  • Families of the victims would be eligible to get assistance under the scheme even if they have received any other assistance, by way of payment of ex-gratia or any other type of relief from the Government or any other source except when a similar scheme is already being implemented by the Central Government.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Fiji


The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of new Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Fiji. The Agreement is for updation of the existing Air Services Agreement (ASA) between the two countries which was signed in January, 1974.

The essential features of the Air Services Agreement are as follows:fiji

  • Both countries shall be entitled to designate one or more airline.
  • The designated airlines of either country shall have the right to establish offices in the territory of the other country for the promotion and sale of air services.
  • The designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes. The routes and frequencies shall be decided subsequently.
  • The designated airline will be free to decide tariffs in respect of the agreed services at reasonable levels based on the commercial considerations.
  • The designated Airline of each party can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party and other party.
  • Apart from the above, the ASA also has the provisions relating to Revocation or Suspension of Operating Authorization, Principles governing operations of agreed services, commercial opportunities, safety related clause etc. that were incorporated in the line of Indian model ASA.
  • The existing Route Schedule annex to the ASA has also been revised and new points of call have been added for enhanced connectivity. Now Indian carriers can operate to any points in Fiji from points in India whereas the carriers of Fiji can establish direct operation to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in India and by code share with Indian carriers to Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad apart from points given for direct operation. Besides this, Kochi, Varanasi, Ahmedabad and Amritsar may be served through domestic code share operations.

Sources: pib.


Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.


Maharashtra becomes first state to sign MoU for regional air links


Maharashtra has become the first state to sign an MoU with the ministry of civil aviation and the Airports Authority of India for Regional Connectivity Scheme to develop 10 districts. This would lead to opening up of new destinations for both development and investments.


  • The first phase will include Shirdi, Nanded, Amravati, Gondia, Nashik, Jalgaon, Solapur, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg.
  • The MoU aims to facilitate regional air connectivity by making air travel affordable and move aviation sector in Maharashtra to next level.
  • Maharashtra state government has also sought viability gap funding from the Centre for comprehensive airport connectivity development projects connecting one district with another through flights on dedicated routes.
  • As per the agreement, the state will reduce the local tax on aviation fuel from existing 10% to 1% for 10 years, apart from providing essential land free of cost.
  • The state will also provide electricity, water and necessary facilities at concessional rates.
  • Under the scheme, the state will contribute 20% cost of viability gap funding, and the rest will be borne by the Centre.


The fully subsidised regional connectivity scheme (RCS) seeks to cap ticket prices so as to make flying more affordable and accessible to the common man and is part of the ambitious National Civil Aviation Policy 2016.

  • Under the RCS, the Centre will subsidise 80% of the cost under a viability gap fund (VGF) scheme, while the states will meet the rest of the cost. In the case of the northeastern states, the central subsidy will be 90%.
  • The RCS stipulates that air tickets for under a one-hour flight will be capped at Rs 2,500, and the VGF will take care of the rest of the operational cost.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.  


Dignity and Self-Respect: a new mantra for Swachh Bharat Mission


A government commissioned report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) on Swachh Bharat mission in urban areas has flagged how success of this flagship programme is dependent on ensuring effective intervention by government departments and particularly municipal bodies rather than authorities just placing the onus on people and communities.


Urban development ministry had engaged TISS for conducting consultative meetings with citizens groups for scaling up citizen engagement in this scheme to make it into a full-fledged `jan andolan’.


  • According to the report, inability of municipal bodies, ineffective cleanliness and poor processing of both solid and liquid waste has been the major road block in achieving visible improvement in cleanliness in urban areas.
  • The government is taking the cue from the TISS report and working toward bringing in “a paradigm shift” by encouraging “technocrat approach” to make the cleanliness mission a success.
  • The report also stressed on the need for total sanitation and focusing on making the urban poor move away from a “life of denial and indignity to one filled with opportunities and dignity.”
  • The TISS report favoured a long term association between the governments and specialists including ad agencies and behavioral scientists for clearly articulating the real value of sanitation.
  • The government is also considering recommendation of TISS that a “statutory National Council for Sanitation” should be set up for “robust governance and implementation with representation for civil society, academia, technocrats, policy makers, government officials and other stakeholders.” The Council can suggest required legal reforms to enhance functioning of the Mission besides promoting evidence based policy making.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: economics of animal-rearing.


9 new breeds of indigenous livestock registered


Nine new breeds of indigenous farm animals have been registered by the Karnal-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBAGR), taking the total number of indigenous breeds of livestock in the country to 160.


  • Approval for the registration of the new breeds of livestock and poultry was recently given by the breed registration


    committee of the ICAR.

  • The new germplasm of indigenous farm animals registered as breeds by the NBAGR includes one breed of cattle, two breeds each of goat and sheep, three breeds of pig, and one breed of chicken.
  • Among the newly registered breeds, the cattle is found to be more disease resistant than the other known indigenous breeds.
  • The newly identified and registered breeds include Badricow (Uttarakhand), Teressa goat (Nicobar Island), Kodi Adu goat (Tamil Nadu), Chevaadu sheep (Tamil Nadu), Kendrapada sheep (Odisha), Tenyi Vo pig (Nagaland), Nicobari pig (NicobarIsland), Doom pig (Assam) and Kaunayenchicken (Manipur).


Indigenous breeds of livestock and poultry are identified and registered as part of an exercise to conserve them, taking in view their area-specific suitability and heat\cold and disease resistance capabilities.

  • The ICAR had initiated the mechanism for ‘Registration of Animal Germplasm’ through the NBAGR. It had in 2008 constituted a Breed Registration Committee that takes a call on registration of newly found indigenous breeds based on scientifically produced evidence.
  • Registration of breeds is also aimed at creating a sense of ownership among local communities responsible for development of breeds.
  • The registration of various unique populations as breeds shall also help in inventorisation, improvement, conservation and sustainable utilisation of animal genetic resources of the country.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

  • Sugamaya Pustakalaya: It is an online library that makes accessible content available to print-disabled people. The library houses publications across diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats. It has been created by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with member organizations of Daisy Forum of India and powered by TCS Access. Books are available in Accessible formats for people with visual impairment and other print disabilities. Over 2 lakhs books in diverse languages. Integrating libraries across India and the Globe, including the largest international library, Bookshare are available.


  • Udaipur Declaration: It was adopted during the recently held two-day meeting of Ministers of Disaster Management of BRICS countries in Udaipur. With this, it has been decided to set up a dedicated Joint Task Force for Disaster Risk Management for regular dialogue, exchange, mutual support and collaboration among BRICS Countries.