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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 09 July 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 09 July 2019

Relevant articles from PIB:

GS  Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  2. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  3. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders


Aspirational districts programme


What to study?

For Prelims: About Aspirational Districts Programme, key performers.

For Mains: Significance and the need for such programmes.


Context: DoNER Secretary chairs meeting of Nodal officers of Aspirational districts of North Eastern region.


About Aspirational Districts Programme:

Launched in January 2018, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme aims to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.

The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan.

With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.


Focus of the programme:

To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy. Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus.


Significance of the scheme:

If these districts are transformed, there would be tremendous improvement in the internal security environment of the country.

If Prabhari officers can bring convergence in the development efforts of different Ministries and state Governments and the schemes specially launched by Home Ministry in these districts, it would serve as a great opportunity to ensure rapid development in the country.


Mains Question: The aspirational districts programme will play a key role in bridging the development gap vital to social and political stability. Examine.

GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


World Food Programme


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key facts on WFP and its programmes.


Context: Coffee Table Book commemorating 50 years of partnership with UNWFP towards food and nutrition security in India has been launched.

The book showcases key milestones achieved by the Government of India in its efforts to make the nation free from hunger and malnutrition and WFP’s role in this endeavour.


About WFP:

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
  • The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
  • Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.
  • The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
  • The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
  • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.


The objectives of the World Food Programme are:

  1. Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.
  2. Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.
  3. Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.
  4. Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.
  5. Zero Hunger in 2030.


“World Hunger Map”:

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba will work with WFP to develop digital “World Hunger Map”. The map will help to monitor global hunger and operations to end scourge by 2030 which is one of UN’s key Sustainable Development goals. It also aims to boost efficiency of interventions and shorten emergency response times.

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Infrastructure and related issues.



What to study?

For Prelims: Particulars of NIIF and funds under NIIF.

For Mains: Significance of NIIF and the need for Infrastructure funding.


Context: National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Signs MoU with National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) for funding highway projects.


About NIIF:

The government had set up the ₹40,000 crore NIIF in 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled infrastructure projects.

The Indian government is investing 49% and the rest of the corpus is to be raised from third-party investors such as sovereign wealth funds, insurance and pension funds, endowments, etc.

NIIF’s mandate includes investing in areas such as energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.

NIIF currently manages three funds each with its distinctive investment mandate. The funds are registered as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).


The three funds are:

Master Fund: The Master Fund is an infrastructure fund with the objective of primarily investing in operating assets in the core infrastructure sectors such as roads, ports, airports, power etc.

Fund of Funds: Fund of Funds anchor and/or invest in funds managed by fund managers who have good track records in infrastructure and associated sectors in India. Some of the sectors of focus include Green Infrastructure, Mid-Income & Affordable Housing, Infrastructure services and allied sectors.

Strategic Investment Fund: Strategic Investment Fund is registered as an Alternative Investment Fund II under SEBI in India. The objective of “Strategic Fund” is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments. The Strategic Fund will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.


Mains Question: Discuss the significance of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and the need for Infrastructure funding in India.

GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

Infrastructure- Roadways.


Bharatmala Pariyojana


What to study?

For Prelims: Bharatmala, NHAI.

For Mains: Infrastructure development- need, challenges and solutions.


Context: The Government of India has approved Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojana with financial outlay of Rs 5,35,000 crore to develop 24,800 km Highways along with 10,000 km residual NHDP stretches over a period of five years.


What is Bharatmala project?

Bharatmala Project is the second largest highways construction project in the country since NHDP, under which almost 50,000 km of highway roads were targeted across the country. Bharatmala will look to improve connectivity particularly on economic corridors, border areas and far flung areas with an aim of quicker movement of cargo and boosting exports.


About NHAI:

The National Highways Authority of India was constituted by an act of Parliament, the National Highways Authority of India Act,1988. It is responsible for the development, maintenance and management of National Highways entrusted to it and for matters connected or incidental thereto. The Authority was operationalised in Feb, 1995.



Relevant articles from various news sources:

GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Foreigners Tribunals


What to study?

For prelims and mains: Foreigners Tribunal-need, composition, Functions and significance.


Context: According to Assam government data presented in an affidavit to the Supreme Court and in the Assembly this year, Foreigners’ Tribunals have declared 1,03,764 persons foreigners between 1985 and August 2018.


How do Foreigners’ Tribunals work?

The Foreigners’ Tribunals — 100 existing and 200 more to be functional by September 1 — are quasi-judicial bodies meant to “furnish opinion on the question as to whether a person is or is not a foreigner within the meaning of Foreigners Act, 1946”.

In 1964, the Centre passed the Foreigners’ (Tribunals) Order under provisions of Section 3 of the Act.

The FTs get two kinds of cases: those against whom a “reference” has been made by border police, and those whose names in the electoral rolls have a D (Doubtful) against them.


Under what provision do Foreigners’ Tribunals pass ex parte orders?

Section 9 of the Foreigners Act says that “the onus of proving that such person is not a foreigner or is not a foreigner of such particular class or description, as the case may be, shall, not withstanding anything contained in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, lie upon such person”.

Thus, the accused has to prove he or she is an Indian. Since the onus is on the person, if he or she is absconding and doesn’t appear before the tribunal, the member can pass an ex parte order.


Can an accused contest an ex parte order?

The said order may be reviewed by the Foreigners’ Tribunal if sufficient reasons are shown by the proceedee for his absence or for having no knowledge about the cases, within the absence or for having no knowledge about such order.


What happens if an exparte order does not come up for review, or a review fails?

If police can track the person after the order, he or she will be arrested and put into a detention camp. If not, the person will be an ‘untraced foreigner’. Many ‘declared foreigners’ appeal in the High Court and then the Supreme Court against an order by the FT.


Sources: Indian Express.

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.




What to study?

For Prelims: Highlights of the report, about UNODC.

For Mains: Significance of the report and concerns raised, need for comprehensive measures.


Context: The Global Study on Homicide 2019 has been published by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).


Key findings:

  • Asia, which accounts for 60% of the global population, recorded the lowest rate of homicide in 2017 with only 2.3 killings per 1,00,000 people.
  • Americas had the highest homicide rate.
  • About 4,64,000 people across the world were victims of homicidal violence in 2017, an increase from 395,542 in 1992. The number of homicides in 2017 far surpassed the 89,000 killed in armed conflicts in the same period.
  • The global homicide rate, measured as the victims of homicide per 1,00,000 people, declined from 7.2 in 1992, to 6.1 in 2017.
  • Asia accounted for 23% of total homicide victims worldwide.
  • Asia’s low continental average, however, can be partly explained by the huge populations of countries such as China, Japan and Korea, which all boast less than one homicide per 100,000 people in a year.
    In addition, their secret lies in the push for modernization policies – with a special emphasis on educational achievements – along with a culture that rewards long-term plans.
  • Young men at highest risk in all regions.
  • While women and girls account for a far smaller share of victims than men, they continue to bear “by far the greatest burden” of intimate partner and family-related homicide, the report finds, adding that more than nine in 10 suspects in homicide cases are men.


Need of the hour:

  • In a bid to help Governments tackle homicide, the UNODC report identifies several drivers of the problem, in addition to organized crime. They include firearms, drugs and alcohol, inequality, unemployment, political instability and gender stereotyping.
  • It “is possible” to tackle the threat from criminal networks with “targeted” policies. These include community engagement and police patrols, as well as policing reform, whose aim is to strengthen trust in officers among the local population.
  • For those young men already caught up in criminal gangs, they need help “so that they can extricate themselves” through social work, rehabilitation programmes and awareness-raising about non-violent alternatives.


About UNODC:

Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention, UNODC is a global leader in the fight against illicit drugs and international crime.

UNODC relies on voluntary contributions, mainly from Governments, for 90% of its budget.

UNODC is mandated to assist Member States in their struggle against illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.


The three pillars of the UNODC work programme are:

  1. Field-based technical cooperation projects to enhance the capacity of Member States to counteract illicit drugs, crime and terrorism.
  2. Research and analytical work to increase knowledge and understanding of drugs and crime issues and expand the evidence base for policy and operational decisions.
  3. Normative work to assist States in the ratification and implementation of the relevant international treaties, the development of domestic legislation on drugs, crime and terrorism, and the provision of secretariat and substantive services to the treaty-based and governing bodies.


Sources: the Hindu.

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA)


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: EPCA- objectives, composition and significance.


Context: To reduce air pollution in Delhi, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has requested the Supreme Court to intervene in the “grossly inadequate” public transport infrastructure of the city.


About Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA):

EPCA was constituted with the objective of ‘protecting and improving’ the quality of the environment and ‘controlling environmental pollution’ in the National Capital Region.

The EPCA also assists the apex court in various environment-related matters in the region.

EPCA is Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region. It was notified in 1998 by Environment Ministry under Environment Protection Act, 1986.



Besides the chairman, the EPCA has 14 members, some of whom are the environment secretary of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), chairperson of the New Delhi Municipal Council, transport commissioner of the NCT, the commissioners of various municipal corporations of Delhi and professors at IIT Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University.



  • To protect and improve quality of environment and prevent and control environmental pollution in National Capital Region.
  • To enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR as per the pollution levels.


Sources: the Hindu.

GS Paper 1:

Topics covered:

  1. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.


Uniform Civil Code


What to study?

For Prelims: Constitutional provisions related to Uniform Civil Code.

For Mains: UCC- need, concerns, challenges and is it suitable for India?


Context: The Delhi High Court was recently informed that the issue of framing a Uniform Civil Code will be placed for consideration before the 22nd Law Commission once it is constituted.


What is uniform civil code?

Uniform civil Code is a proposal to have a generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.


What the constitution says?

Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Since the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them.


India needs a Uniform Civil Code for the following reasons:

  • A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
  • Another reason why a uniform civil code is needed is gender justice. The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. The practice of triple talaq is a classic example.
  • Many practices governed by religious tradition are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
  • Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.


Why is UCC is not desirable at this point?

Secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country. Besides, cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.

The term ‘secularism’ has meaning only if it assures the expression of any form of difference. This diversity, both religious and regional, should not get subsumed under the louder voice of the majority. At the same time, discriminatory practices within a religion should not hide behind the cloak of that faith to gain legitimacy.


What is needed now?

The way forward may not be UCC, but the codification of all personal laws so that prejudices and stereotypes in every one of them would come to light and can be tested on the anvil of fundamental rights of the Constitution. By codification of different personal laws, one can arrive at certain universal principles that prioritise equity rather than imposition of a Uniform Code, which would discourage many from using the law altogether, given that matters of marriage and divorce can also be settled extra-judicially.


Sources: the Hindu.



Facts for Prelims:


National Youth Corps:

National Youth Corps (NYC) is a scheme of the Department of Youth Affairs implemented through Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS).

National Youth Volunteers (NYVs) are engaged under the scheme National Youth Corps (NYC) initially for a period of 01 year extendable upto 02 years on an honorarium of ₹ 5,000/- per month.

About Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan: Nehru Yuva Kendras was established in 1972. Later in 1987 under Rajiv Gandhi Government it became Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, an autonomous organization under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.


Kaushal Yuva Samwaad:

Commemorating World Youth Skills Day on July 15, 2019 and celebrating 4th Anniversary of the Skill India Mission, the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has announced launch of “Kaushal Yuva Samwaad” (A Youth Dialogue)

Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is aimed at creating an open dialogue with the youth across all skill training centres to hear their views, ideas, opportunities and recommendations which could help the Ministry in scaling the existing programs and improve overall efficiency of its projects.

Kaushal Yuva Samwaad is being organized across all Skill India training centres, namely, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Polytechnics, Institutes under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Jan Shikshan Sansthans, DDU-GKY Centres and other fee-based training centres across the country.


National Translation Mission (NTM):

It is a scheme launched in 2008 which is being implemented through the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore.

Objective: to establish translation as an industry in general and to facilitate higher education by making knowledge texts accessible to students and academics in Indian languages.

Under the scheme, the books of knowledge texts mostly text books of various subjects prescribed in Universities and Colleges are being translated in all Languages of the 8thSchedule of the Constitution of India.


UNESCO’s World Heritage List:

Context: The World Heritage Committee inscribed seven cultural sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

These sites include:

  1. Burial Mounds (Bahrain): The burial mounds are evidence of the Early Dilmun civilization, around the 2nd millennium BCE, during which Bahrain became a trade hub, whose prosperity enabled the inhabitants to develop an elaborate burial tradition applicable to the entire population.
  2. Budj Bim Cultural Landscape (Australia): Composed of channels, dams and weirs, they are used to contain floodwaters and create basins to trap, store and harvest the kooyang eel (Anguilla australis), which has provided the population with an economic and social base for six millennia.
  3. Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City (China): Located in the Yangtze River Basin on the south-eastern coast of the country, the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu (about 3300-2300 BCE) reveal an early regional state with a unified belief system based on rice cultivation in Late Neolithic China.
  4. Jaipur City, Rajasthan (India): The fortified city of Jaipur, in India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan was founded in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh II. Unlike other cities in the region located in hilly terrain, Jaipur was established on the plain and built according to a grid plan interpreted in the light of Vedic architecture.
  5. Ombilin Coal Mining Heritage of Sawahlunto, (Indonesia): Built for the extraction, processing and transport of high-quality coal in an inaccessible region of Sumatra, this industrial site was developed by the Netherlands’ colonial government from the late 19th to the beginning of the 20th century with a workforce recruited from the local population and supplemented by convict labour from Dutch-controlled areas.
  6. Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan (Japan): Located on a plateau above the Osaka Plain, this property includes 49 kofun (old mounds in Japanese). These kofun have been selected from a total of 160,000 in Japan and form the richest material representation of the Kofun period, from the 3rd to the 6th century CE. They demonstrate the differences in social classes of that period and reflect a highly sophisticated funerary system.
  7. Megalithic Jar Sites in Xiengkhouang — Plain of Jars (Lao People’s Democratic Republic): The Plain of Jars, located on a plateau in central Laos, gets its name from more than 2,100 tubular-shaped megalithic stone jars used for funerary practices in the Iron Age.


Operation Milap:

The operation Milap under which children are rescued was launched in December 2014.

Under this project, the Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Delhi Police develops information, rescues the trafficked or kidnapped person and arrests the kidnappers

The rescued children are counselled and also given requisite medical attention.



Summaries of important Editorials:


The importance of democratic education:


Need for democratic education:

Democratically elected governments in our times are neither efficient nor wise. They show a propensity to fail at achieving their national goal — a high quality of life for all people. High rate of literacy, alone, would not solve the problem.

The solution then is not just education per se, but universal education of a certain kind, one that is focused on improving the quality of our democracy. Our current education system does not focus on education in democracy or what we might call democratic education. Nor does it build on elements of democratic culture embedded in our traditions.


What then are the core elements of democratic education?

  1. It requires the cultivation of democratic virtues. For instance, the ability to imagine and articulate a minimally common good. This requires that we distinguish what is merely good for me from what is the good of all. And since each of us may develop our own distinct idea of the common good, to find an overlapping common good.
  2. An ability to handle difference and disagreement and to retain, despite this difference, the motivation to arrive at the common good through conversation, debate, dialogue and deliberation.
  3. Also crucial is a spirit of compromise, of moderation, and a willingness, within acceptable value parameters, of mutual give and take.
  4. More important is the ability to participate in a particular historical narrative. Members of a political community become better citizens when they relate to critical issues through historically inherited terms of debate, a continuing narrative, a specific ongoing conversation. The reflection of that debate in political decision-making is central to the members’ feeling of engagement and participation.
  5. Individuals become effective and meaningful citizens only by learning the terms set by debates around these specific issues. Since a useful entry to them is available through rich debates in the Constituent Assembly, a familiarity with them is a crucial ingredient of democratic education in India.


What then is democratic education?

Conceived broadly, it is a historically specific enterprise, determined by the inherited vocabulary of specific political languages and the terms of debates in a particular community. It is designed specifically to enable conversation on issues central to a particular community, to strive for agreement where possible and to live peacefully with disagreement where it is not. In short, it involves social and historical awareness and key democratic virtues.