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Insights Daily Current Events, 29 October 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 29 October 2015


Paper 1 Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Govt. limits surrogacy to ‘infertile Indian couples’

The Centre recently told the Supreme Court that it does not support rent-a-womb commercial surrogacy and would make such exploitation of women and children wombs punishable under the law. However, the centre has said that it would allow only infertile Indian married couples to go for surrogacy.

  • This provision will be made part of The Assisted Reproductive Techniques (Regulation) Bill, 2014, which is currently awaiting the comments of states.

A surrogacy arrangement or surrogacy agreement is the carrying of a pregnancy for intended parents.

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill, 2014:

  • The proposed legislation aims at proper regulation and supervision of ART clinics and banks in the country and to prevent misuse of this technology, including surrogacy, and for safe and ethical practice of these services.
  • Under the provisions of the bill foreign nationals will be barred from commissioning surrogacy in India.
  • The Bill has stern rules for surrogates. It says that any woman agreeing to act as a surrogate shall be duty-bound not to engage in any act, including unprotected sex that may harm the foetus during pregnancy and the child after birth, until the time the child is handed over to the designated commissioning couple.

Need for such legislations:

  • 7,000-8,000 surrogacy clinics operate in Delhi alone. Most of them operate illegally, according to estimates.
  • Around 10,000 foreign couples visit India a year to commission surrogacy with nearly 30% being single or homosexual.
  • Rs 2.5-6 lakh is the amount charged by surrogates in India.
  • $400mn is the surrogacy industry’s value in India as per estimates.

sources: the hindu, indiatoday, pib.


Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in IT.

‘Zero Rating’ will enhance Net access: Zuckerberg

During his recent visit to India, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s Free Basics and Zero Rating do not violate Net neutrality, instead they are aimed at enhancing access to the Internet in the developing world, including India.

  • He also said that most of the folks who are pushing for Net neutrality have access to the Internet already. But the people who are not yet on the Internet can’t sign an online petition pushing for increased access to the Internet.
  • He also tried to distinguish zero-rating services from other instances when companies charge different rates for services or when a telecom operator tries to give an advantage to its own services. According to him, it was for the latter that Net neutrality regulations are required.

What is Zero rating?

Zero Rating is a practice by which Internet operators offer free data for specific applications. Advocates of Zero Rating services have argued that this enables those offline to try online services, thereby bridging the digital divide.

Free basics:

It was earlier called as It has partnered with Reliance Communications as the telecom service provider in India. had come under intense criticism from Net neutrality activists in India that it favours Facebook’s own services.

Other notable points:

  • Facebook is the world’s second largest Internet company in terms of market capitalisation and the largest social media firm.
  • India provides the second largest user-base of Facebook after the U.S. with 130 million users, nearly one-tenth of the overall users.
  • However, Facebook’s annual report of 2014 says that its average revenue per user for the U.S. and Canada was nearly six times than that for the Asia-Pacific region (including India), suggesting the importance of greater Internet access in India for Facebook.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Nutrition bureau axed, anti-poverty schemes starved

The National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau (NNMB) has been shut down by the Union Health Ministry.

Why it was shut down?

  • It is being said that since the bureau was running in project mode and Government programmes that run in a project mode for this long are not sustainable, it was shut down. The bureau was also among many research organisations hit by the government’s cash crunch.
  • The Union Science and Technology Ministry had also recently asked scientific research organisations under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to start self-financing projects, turning research projects into “for-profit” ventures over the next two years.

About NNMB:

  • It was established in 1972 by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with a mandate to generate data on the nutritional status of socially vulnerable groups.
  • The bureau had been critical in informing the government’s poverty alleviation interventions with periodic assessments of nutrient deficiency among tribal communities, pregnant women, adolescents and at-risk elderly population in India.

Significance of NNMB:

  • In countries such as India where nutrition has a cultural significance, organisations like NNMB provide a good understanding of what people eat and what, therefore, can be culturally accepted nutritional interventions.
  • NNMB plays a very important role in projecting data in terms of what people are eating. The data gathered by the NNMB informs the policy intervention to address under-nutrition.
  • The bureau was the only organisation involved in continuous collection of data on actual dietary intakes of households as a whole as well as by individuals belonging to different age and physiological groups in different States.

sources: the hindu, nnmb.


Paper 2 Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States.

First affordable housing projects under Housing for All Mission

Chattisgarh has become the first state to get central government’s approval for taking up affordable housing projects in urban areas under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana (PMAY) launched in June this year.

  • The Centre has approved state government’s proposals for building 26,034 houses in 11 cities and towns in the state. Of these, 12,670 are for beneficiaries belonging to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and 13,364 for Low Income Group (LIG).
  • The centre has also approved the release of first installment of Rs.76 cr to Chattisgarh government. State Urban Development Agency is the nodal agency for housing mission while Chattisgarh Housing Board is the implementing agency.

Housing for All:

It is scheme which proposes to build 2 crore houses across the nation by 2022.

The components of the scheme are as follows:

  • Slum rehabilitation of Slum Dwellers with participation of private developers using land as a resource.
  • Promotion of affordable housing for weaker section through credit linked subsidy.
  • Affordable housing in partnership with Public & Private sectors.
  • Subsidy for beneficiary-led individual house construction or enhancement.

Details of the scheme:

  • The scheme will be implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme except the credit linked subsidy component, which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.
  • The scheme prescribes certain mandatory reforms for easing up the urban land market for housing, to make adequate urban land available for affordable housing.
  • Houses constructed under the mission would be allotted in the name of the female head of the households or in the joint name of the male head of the household and his wife.
  • A Technology Sub-mission under the Mission would be set up to facilitate adoption of modern, innovative and green technologies and building material for faster and quality construction of houses. The Technology Sub-Mission will also facilitate preparation and adoption of layout designs and building plans suitable for various geo-climatic zones. It will also assist States/Cities in deploying disaster resistant and environment friendly technologies.
  • The Technology Sub-Mission will coordinate with various regulatory and administrative bodies for mainstreaming and up scaling deployment of modern construction technologies and material in place of conventional construction. The Technology Sub-Mission will also coordinate with other agencies working in green and energy efficient technologies, climate change etc.
  • In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the Mission will provide flexibility to States for choosing best options to meet the demand of housing in their states.

sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Agreements involving India.

Agreement on digital preservation and conservation of rare written treasures

Indian and France have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conserve, develop and publicize written heritage.


  • The MoU will assist a programme on digitization of old manuscripts and documents, begun in France seven years ago, as it will make it possible for gaining their experience and high –quality expertise in this field.
  • This MoU will also entail development of digital co-operation, sharing of technical and other expertise, competency and skill-building and cultural co-operation between the two countries.
  • France is keen to avail India’s assistance in sorting out, deciphering and gaining a better insight into their collection of the several thousands of Indian documents, especially in Sanskrit and Tamil languages,that are archived in their possession.

Ministry of Culture is also planning to build a National Virtual Library in India which will store and share numerous manuscripts, archives, artworks etc. This MoU will help in efficient implementation of this project. The National Virtual Library will link and share all knowledge resources lying within the possession of various government institutes and other organizations of both the countries.

sources: pib.



Nepal gets first woman President

Nepal’s Parliament has elected communist lawmaker Bidhya Bhandari as the country’s first woman President after the adoption of a landmark Constitution last month.Bidhya_Bhandari