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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 July 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 29 July 2017


Paper 2:

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care (FPC) for improving newborn health. The new guidelines have been released by the government for improving health of babies in special units across the country.

new born care

Key facts:

  • The guidelines will serve as a guiding document for those intending to introduce FPC in their facility as an integral part of facility based newborn care.
  • The operational guidelines of FPC are for all stakeholders involved in the process of planning and delivering newborn care.
  • Under the guidelines—Operational Guidelines for Planning and Implementation of Family Participatory Care (FPC)—parent-attendants will be trained in newborn care through a structured programme including an audio-visual module and a training guide. The staff at a newborn care unit would provide continuous supervision and support.
  • The guidelines address various aspects of attitudes, infrastructural modifications and practice that will help in establishing FPC at Special Newborn Care Units (SNCU) such as sensitization of State and District Managers on FPC, prioritization of SNCUs for initiating FPC etc.



FPC has emerged as an important concept of health care which provides for partnership between health care staff and families for care of sick newborns. Under FPC, the capacities of parents-attendants are built in newborn care through a structured training programme (audio -visual module and a training guide). The staff at newborn care unit will provide continuous supervision and support. Provisions for infrastructure and logistics strengthening required for implementing FPC are ensured in the annual state Program Implementation Plan (PIP).


Need for family participation:

Sick and newborn are highly vulnerable and require careful nurturing in order to survive the neonatal period and first year of life. In recent years, health experts have found that if parents are trained during the stay of their babies in hospital to provide supportive care to sick newborns, it helps in not only improving survival of babies after discharge but also provides for psycho-social and developmental needs of the newborn.

In this regard, Family Participatory Care has emerged as an important concept of health care which provides for partnership between health care staff and families in care of sick newborns admitted in the SNCU. The move is expected to bring down infant mortality.


Sources: pib.


Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Ministry of WCD seeks suggestions issues related to civil aspects of “International Child removal”


The ministry for women and child development has put out in the public domain a “concept note” on issues related to civil aspects of International Child Removal. A multi member committee led Chairmanship Justice Rajesh Bindal, Judge Punjab and Haryana High Court was set-up in February to study all aspects of the matter pertaining to Hague Convention on Child Abduction in detail and make its recommendation. Before it gives the final report the Committee has sought suggestions on the concept note and the various concerns raised.

child abduction

Why a law in this regard is necessary?

The instances of an Indian citizen marrying an NRI or a person of Indian origin having citizenship of a foreign nation, popularly referred to as ‘transnational marriages’ are frequent and in abundance. However, many a times, it so happens that the spouses fall apart and the marriage breaks down irretrievably. In many such cases, the spouses return to the net of their families/extended families in India, seeking mental comfort for themselves and their children. However, such instances often land such estranged spouse in a situation of being perceived as abductors of their children in light of The Hague convention provisions.

  • In another situation where both the spouses may be Indians, residing in India, one of the spouses may move out of India along with the child born out of such wedlock after breakdown of marriage. In such situation, the issue of getting the child back from the foreign land assumes importance, in the process of redressing the grievance of the left behind spouse. In such cases, the signatory countries of the Hague convention can avail access to the Central authorities of the other contracting states to resolve such issues.
  • Another factor that deserves consideration, is that many a times, on account of the broken marriages, often the complaint of child abduction is alleged against each other by the estranged spouse, to settle their personal scores.


What next?

With the rise in trans-national marriages and complexities involved in modern day relationships, the protection of rights of parents and children involved has become a critical issue of National and International importance. The report of the committee once ready will steer further deliberations of the WCD ministry to recommend to the government of India on whether India should ratify the Hague convention and if it does how to ensure that the rights of the parents and child are not compromised in any way.


About the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction:

It is a multilateral treaty on custodial issues of children. The Convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to ensure their prompt return.

  • The convention is intended to enhance the international recognition of rights of custody and access arising in place of habitual residence, and to ensure prompt return of the child who is wrongfully removed or retained from the place of habitual residence.
  • It seeks to return children abducted or retained overseas by a parent to their country of habitual residence for the courts of that country to decide on matters of residence and contact.
  • The convention shall apply to any child, up to the age of 16 years who is a habitual resident of any of the contacting states.


Sources: pib.


Paper 3:

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


NPCI receives final nod from RBI to function as Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit


National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the umbrella organisation for all retail payment systems, has said it has received a final nod from the Reserve Bank of India to function as the Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and operate the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS).

  • The final clearance from RBI comes almost a year after NPCI launched the BBPS pilot project to make payment of utility bills easier.



About BBPS:

  • The Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) is an RBI conceptualised system driven by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It is a one-stop payment platform for all bills, providing an interoperable and accessible “Anytime Anywhere” bill payment service to customers across the country with certainty, reliability and safety of transactions.

Payments through BBPS may be made using cash, transfer cheques and electronic modes. Bill aggregators and banks, who will function as operating units, will carry out these transactions for the customers.



National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization for all retail payments system in India. It was set up with the guidance and support of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). NPCI has ten promoter banks.


Sources: the hindu.


Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


‘Scheme for banks not applied as envisaged’


According to a report by the CAG, the Centre’s ‘Indradhanush’ scheme to recapitalise public sector banks (PSBs) based on their performance was not implemented in a manner envisaged.


What the report says?

  • As per the scheme, a portion of the recapitalisation was to be based on the bank’ performance. However, this was not followed during disbursal of funds.
  • The parameters used to determine whether banks required capital changed from year to year and in some years the rationale for capitalising banks was not even recorded. Hence, the scheme’s target of raising Rs. 1.1 lakh crore from the markets by 2018-19 was not likely to be met.
  • Also, some banks that did not qualify for additional capital as per the decided norms, were infused with capital, and in some cases, banks were infused with more capital than required.



gross NPAs with PSBs had risen sharply in recent years, from Rs. 2.27 lakh crore as of March 31, 2014 to about Rs. 5.4 lakh crore at the end of March 2016.


Mission Indradhanush:

In 2015, under the Indradhanush plan, the government had announced capital infusion of ₹70,000 crore in public sector banks for four years, starting from 2015-16. In the first two financial years, ₹25,000 crore had been earmarked per year with ₹10,000 crore to be disbursed in each of the remaining two years. However, credit rating agencies had pointed out that the sum was insufficient as banks needed to meet Basel-III norms as well as make provisions for rising bad loans.

The mission includes the seven key reforms of appointments, board of bureau, capitalisation, de-stressing, empowerment, framework of accountability and governance reforms.


Sources: et.


Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.


India’s anti-China missile can’t be trusted in fights, says CAG


The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has severely criticised India’s home-made Akash air defence missile system. As per a report by the CAG, as many as a third of the home-made Akash surface-to-air missiles are unreliable, unusable and untested, posing an operational risk during hostilities.


What the CAG report says?

  • The missiles fell short of the target, had lower than the required velocity, and there was malfunctioning of critical units.
  • The missile systems were to be installed at six designated sites (in northeast), between 2013 and 2015. But till date, none of the missile systems have been installed.
  • Out of 80 missiles received up to November 2014, 20 missiles were test fired during April-November 2014. Six of these missiles, which is 30%, failed the test.
  • Two of the missiles failed to even take off. These deficiencies pose an operational risk during hostilities.
  • The lifespan of some missiles had expired by March 2017.
  • The missiles were bought at a high cost but would stay usable for a less period than their stipulated life.
  • Delay in civil works at the sites pushed the installation of the missile systems behind schedule.


What’s the main concern now?

This revelation comes at a time when a stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops continues along the border in Sikkim sector. Akash, to be positioned in the vulnerable Siliguri corridor (also referred to as the Chicken’s neck), was India’s counter to any strike by Chinese Air Force fighters. But the CAG report puts a big question mark on its utility and also on the Make in India initiative that seeks to trim the country’s dependence on imported arms.

The report is also a body blow to the missile system and comes after the Army earlier this year showed interest in going for the Israeli quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles (QR-SAMs) to take on enemy fighters, helicopters and drones instead of Akash.


Know about Akash Missile:

The Akash missile is India’s first indigenously designed, developed and produced air defence surface-to-air missile system. Akash is a supersonic short range surface-to-air missile capable of neutralising aerial threats.

  • The asset of this missile system is its capability to neutralise multiple aerial targets coming from different directions at the same time.
  • The maximum range of this missile is 25 kilometres and can neutralise targets at a maximum altitude of 20 kilometres. It is meant for neutralising medium range air targets flying at low or medium height.
  • Akash has been indigenously built. It is a result of 96% indigenisation, with the design being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and built by Bharat Dynamics Limited along with the involvement of Bharat Electronics Limited.


Sources: pib.


Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.


India’s first unmanned tank Muntra


India’s first unmanned tank developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been rolled out of the Chennai lab.


Key facts:

  • Muntra, the unmanned tank, has three variants – surveillance, mine detection and reconnaissance in areas with nuclear and bio threats. It is likely to be used in Naxal-hit areas.
  • Muntra-S has been developed for unmanned surveillance missions, whereas Muntra-M is built for detecting mines. Muntra-N, on the other hand, will be deployed in areas where nuclear radiation or bio weapon risk is high.
  • The vehicle has been tested. It’s surveillance radar, which has an integrated camera can be used to spy on ground target 15km away.


Sources: et.


Topic:  Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


India among top nations with potential for digital payments’: Digital Evolution Index


India has emerged strong, exhibiting a high potential in terms of digital payments and has been categorised under the “break out” segment among 60 countries, according to the Digital Evolution Index 2017.


What you need to know about the index:

The Fletcher School at Tufts University in partnership with Mastercard, unveiled the Digital Evolution Index 2017.

  • The Index is a comprehensive research that tracks the progress countries have made in developing their digital economies and integrating connectivity into the lives of billions.
  • The Index measures four key drivers – supply, consumer demand, institutional environment, and innovation.
  • With nearly half of the world’s population online, the research maps the development of 60 countries, demonstrating their competitiveness and market potential for further digital economic growth.


What is break out segment?

The ‘break out’ segment refers to countries that have relatively lower absolute levels of digital advancement, yet remain poised for growth and are attractive to investors by virtue of their potential.


Performance of India:

  • India has been experiencing rapid strides of progress with an evolving payments landscape, catalysed by the government’s demonetisation decision.
  • The government’s endeavour to boost the acceptance infrastructure coupled with a host of other economic reforms have further hastened the momentum for the country’s journey towards a cashless society.
  • Adoption of digital payments has also witnessed a massive growth with a shift in behaviour change as more people adopt digital payments in daily life.
  • With new players foraying into the market and an entire gamut of solutions for alternate payments, the India payment ecosystem is growing each day.


Sources: et.


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


China produces gas from ‘flammable ice’ under South China Sea


China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as “flammable ice”, in an experimental project in the South China Sea. The government has promised to “actively develop” natural gas hydrate over the 2016-2020 five-year plan period.

china flammable gas

What you need to know about the flammable ice?

Flammable ice consists of methane trapped within water crystals, and has been identified as a potential new gas source for China, with the South China Sea thought to contain some of the world’s most promising deposits.

Officially known as methane clathrates or hydrates, they are formed at very low temperatures and under high pressure. They can be found in sediments under the ocean floor as well as underneath permafrost on land. Despite the low temperature, these hydrates are flammable.

  • By lowering the pressure or raising the temperature, the hydrates break down into water and methane – a lot of methane. One cubic metre of the compound releases about 160 cubic metres of gas, making it a highly energy-intensive fuel.
  • Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.


Why is it important?

Methane hydrates are thought to have the potential to be a revolutionary energy source that could be key to future energy needs – likely the world’s last great source of carbon-based fuel. Vast deposits exist basically underneath all oceans around the the globe, especially on the edge of continental shelves. Countries are scrambling for a way to make the extraction safe and profitable.


Accessing the power of this flammable ice has been difficult, for two reasons.

  • First, these reserves are often distributed over a large area rather than concentrated in one spot as oil or natural gas reserves often are.
  • The bigger problem, however, is that, true to their moniker as flammable ice, methane hydrates are unstable and potentially explosive. Drilling into the seafloor could destabilize the methane ice crystals and cause explosions, spewing vast troves of methane into the atmosphere, where it is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (CO2).


What next?

Any exploitation of the reserves must be done with the utmost care because of environmental concerns. The potential threat is that methane can escape, which would have serious consequences for global warming. It is a gas that has a much higher potential to impact climate change than carbon dioxide.


Sources: et.