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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 13 September 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 13 September 2019


Table of contents:

 

GS Paper 1:

  1. Kartarpur Sahib pilgrim corridor.

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. District mineral foundations.
  2. National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons.
  3. What is Salmonella?
  4. Rohingya refugees.

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub.
  2. Bioterrorism
  3. NATGRID

 

Facts for Prelims:

  1. MAITREE-2019.
  2. ‘Rudrashila’.
  3. Pangon lake.
  4. Drought Toolbox.
  5. World University Rankings 2020.

GS Paper 1:

Topic covered:

  1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Kartarpur Sahib pilgrim corridor

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Location and significance of the corridor, issues involved in its construction.

 

Context: India has urged Pakistan to show flexibility regarding some outstanding issues in the Kartarpur corridor project.

 

Issues:

  1. Pakistan is planning to charge $20 per pilgrim.
  2. It has also not agreed to the initial number — 10,000 pilgrims that India proposed. 
  3. India has not received favourable response on the presence of the consular officer who should accompany the pilgrims.

 

What is the “Kartarpur Corridor” project?

The corridor – often dubbed as the “Road to Peace” – will connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

The construction of the corridor will allow visa-free access to pilgrims from India.

 

Implementation:

The Kartarpur corridor will be implemented as an integrated development project with Government of India funding, to provide smooth and easy passage, with all the modern amenities.

 

The shrine and it’s significance:

  1. The gurdwara in Kartarpur stands on the bank of the Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.
  2. It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
  3. The shrine is visible from the Indian side, as Pakistani authorities generally trim the elephant grass that would otherwise obstruct the view.
  4. Indian Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  2. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

District mineral foundations

 

What to Study?

For Prelims: About DMFs, composition, funds and jurisdiction, about PMKKKY.

For Mains: Why they should be placed under respective planning departments of the state, significance, concerns and challenges.

 

Context: Amendments to District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Trust Rules, 2015, by Chhattisgarh government has made it more inclusive, people-centric and will also empower people affected by mining in the state, according to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi-based non-profit.

 

Background:

Chhattisgarh became the first state in July 2019, to amend DMF rules.

  • The new rule mandates the inclusion of 10 Gram Sabha members directly from mining-affected areas in the DMF Governing Council (GC).
  • In Scheduled Areas, at least 50 per cent of the Gram Sabha members must be from Scheduled Tribes (ST).
  • To ensure better public accountability, a two-step social audit process has been mandated.
  • Provisions have also been introduced for five-year plan, which can be subjected to a third party review if the secretary of the mines department considers it to be necessary.
  • The rules have also specified ‘sustainable livelihood’ as a high priority issue, including for forest rights holders.

 

About DMFs:

  • DMFs were instituted under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Act 2015.
  • They are non-profit truststo work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining-related operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.
  • Jurisdiction: Its manner of operation comes under the jurisdiction of the relevant State Government.

 

The various state DMF rules and the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Khestra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) guidelines stipulate some “high priority” issues for DMFs, including:

  1. Drinking water.
  2. Health
  3. Women and child welfare.
  4. Education
  5. Livelihood and skill development.
  6. Welfare of aged and disabled.
  7. Sanitation

 

Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY):

The programme is meant to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).

 

Objectives of the scheme:

  1. To implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government.
  2. To minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socio-economics of people in mining districts.
  3. To ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.

 

Sources: DowntoEarth.


Topics Covered:

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

National Pension Scheme for Traders and Self Employed Persons 

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features, eligibility of the scheme.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the scheme.

 

Context: Launched recently.

 

About the scheme:

  • It is a pension scheme for the Vyaparis (shopkeepers/retail traders and self-employed persons) with annual turnover not exceeding Rs 1.5 crore.
  • It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme.
  • The enrolment under the scheme is free of cost for the beneficiaries.
  • The enrolment is based upon self-certification.
  • It has a provision for minimum assured pension of Rs 3,000/- monthly on attaining the age of 60 years.
  • The Central Government shall give 50 % share of the monthly contribution and remaining 50% contribution shall be made by the beneficiary.

 

Eligibility:

  1. Beneficiary is required to have an Aadhaar card and a saving bank/ Jan-dhan Account passbook only.
  2. He/ She should be within 18 to 40 years of age group.
  3. GSTIN is required only for those with turnover above Rs. 40 lakhs.
  4. The beneficiary should not be income tax payer and also not a member of EPFO/ESIC/NPS (Govt.)/PM-SYM.

 

Significance:

This scheme will target enrolling 25 lakh subscribers in 2019-20 and 2 crore subscribers by 2023-2024. An estimated 3 crore Vyaparis in the country are expected to be benefitted under the pension scheme.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

Issues related to health.

What is Salmonella?

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: What is it? Why is it a concern?

 

Context: MDH masalas in US have tested positive for Salmonella.

 

What is Salmonella?

A group of bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses known as salmonellosis.

 

How widely is it spread?

  • According to estimates by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella causes 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalisations and about 450 deaths in the United States every year.
  • In a majority of these cases — roughly 1 million — food is the source of the illness.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies Salmonella as one of four key global causes of diarrhoeal diseases.

 

Symptoms:

  • Nausea, diarrhoea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12-72 hours after contracting the infection.
  • Usually, the illness lasts for 4-7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

 

Who is more vulnerable?

  • According to the CDC, children under the age of 5 are at highest risk for Salmonella infection.
  • Older adults and people with weakened immune systems too, are likely to have severe infections.

 

Spread:

  • Salmonella bacteria are widely distributed in domestic and wild animals. They are prevalent in food animals such as poultry, pigs, and cattle, as well as in pets, including cats, dogs, birds, and turtles.
  • Salmonella can pass through the entire food chain from animal feed, primary production, and all the way to households or food-service establishments and institutions.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  3. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

 

Rohingya refugees

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Who are Rohingyas?

For Mains: Displacement of Rohingya community, controversy associated and the need for international cooperation to address the issue.

 

Context: Recently, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh refused to board buses that would have taken them to Mynamar. This resulted in Myanmar missing the August 2019 target for repatriation.

 

Who are Rohingyas?

  • They are an Ethnic group, mostly Muslims. They were not granted full citizenship by Myanmar.
  • They were classified as “resident foreigners or associate citizens”.
  • Ethnically they are much closer to Indo-Aryan people of India and Bangladesh than to the Sino-Tibetans of the Country.

 

What’s the issue?

  • Few years ago, religious and ethnic tensions between the Rohingya Muslims and the Rakhine Buddhists (who make up the majority of the population in Myanmar) escalated into widespread, deadly rioting.
  • Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee. Since then, ongoing violent attacks have forced even more people to leave their homes.
  • The Myanmar Government says that Rohingya people are not Burmese citizens – but the Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for generations. Today, they are a people with no home or citizenship.
  • Rohingya people are being widely abused and exploited. They are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

 

Sources: the hindu

 


 

GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub 

 

What to study?

For Prelims: what is antibiotic resistance and how it occurs?

For Mains: Issues and concerns associated and ways to address them.

 

Context: India joins the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub as a new member.

 

About Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub:

  • Launched in May 2018 in the margins of the 71st session of the World Health Assembly, following a call from G20 Leaders in 2017.
  • Members: 16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organisations (as observers).
  • Functions: Supports global priority setting and evidence-based decision-making on the allocation of resources for AMR R&D through the identification of gaps, overlaps and potential for cross-sectoral collaboration and leveraging in AMR R&D.
  • Secretariat: established in Berlin.
  • Finance: through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).

 

Benefits of this partnership for India:

Opportunity to work with all partners to leverage their existing capabilities, resources and collectively focus on new R&D intervention to address drug resistant infections.

 

What is antimicrobial resistance and why is it a cause for concern?

  • AMR is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe.
  • Today, the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance continues unabated around the world.

 

Why is the medical community worried?

  • Basically, superbugs are becoming more powerful and widespread than ever. Medical experts are afraid that we’re one step away from deadly, untreatable infections, since the mcr-1 E.coli is resistant to that last-resort antibiotic Colistin. Antibiotic-resistance is passed relatively easily from one bacteria to the next, since it is transmitted by way of loose genetic material that most bacteria have in common.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs. Already, infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and pneumonia are becoming harder to treat with typical antibiotics.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. A multi-stakeholder approach, involving private industry, philanthropic groups and citizen activists is needed.
  2. Private pharmaceutical industries must take it upon themselves to distribute drugs in a responsible manner.
  3. Philanthropic charities must fund the development of new antibiotics, while citizen activists must drive awareness.
  4. These stakeholders must appreciate that the only way to postpone resistance is through improved hygiene and vaccinations.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

 

Bioterrorism

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: What is it? Concerns and ways to address them.

 

Context: Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh says bio-terrorism among new threats facing Armed Forces Medical Services of SCO countries.

He called on them to find effective ways to deal with new threats posed by advancing battle field technologies.

 

What is bioterrorism?

A form of terrorism where there is the intentional release of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, or other germs). This is also referred to as germ warfare.

 

Concerns:

  1. In effect, biological warfare is using non-human life to disrupt — or end — human life. Because living organisms can be unpredictable and incredibly resilient, biological weapons are difficult to control, potentially devastating on a global scale, and prohibited globally under numerous treaties.
  2. The threat of bioterrorism is increasing as a result of the rise of technical capabilities, the rapid expansion of the global biotechnology industry, and the growth of loosely sophisticated networks of transnational terrorist groups that have expressed interest in bioterrorism.

 

Impact:

While a biological agent may injure or kill people, animals, or plants, the goal for the terrorist is to further their social and political goals by making their civilian targets feel as if their government cannot protect them.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics covered:

Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges.

 

NATGRID

 

What to study?

For Prelims: NATGRID- features.

For Mains: Significance, need for and criticisms.

 

Context: The ambitious National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) project wants to link social media accounts to the huge database of records related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details among others.

 

About NATGRID:

  1. It is an ambitious counter terrorism programme.
  2. It will utilise technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyse the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks.
  3. It will connect, in different phases, data providing organisations and users besides developing a legal structure through which information can be accessed by the law enforcement agencies.
  4. NATGRID is a post Mumbai 26/11 attack measure.

 

Who can access the data?

The database would be accessible to authorised persons from 11 agencies on a case-to-case basis, and only for professional investigations into suspected cases of terrorism.

 

Criticisms:

  1. NATGRID is facing opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.
  2. Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.
  3. According to few experts, digital databases such as NATGRID can be misused. Over the last two decades, the very digital tools that terrorists use have also become great weapons to fight the ideologies of violence.
  4. Intelligence agencies have also opposed amid fears that it would impinge on their territory and possibly result in leaks on the leads they were working on to other agencies.

 

Why do we need NATGRID?

  1. The danger from not having a sophisticated tool like the NATGRID is that it forces the police to rely on harsh and coercive means to extract information in a crude and degrading fashion.
  2. After every terrorist incident, it goes about rounding up suspects—many of who are innocent. If, instead, a pattern search and recognition system were in place, these violations of human rights would be much fewer.
  3. Natgrid would also help the Intelligence Bureau keep a tab on persons with suspicious backgrounds.
  4. The police would have access to all his data and any movement by this person would also be tracked with the help of this data base.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

MAITREE-2019:

  • It is Indo-Thailand Joint Military Exercise.
  • It is an annual training event which is being conducted alternatively in Thailand and India since 2006.
  • 2019 edition is being held in Meghalaya.
  • Aim: to share experience gained during various counter terrorism operations in their respective countries.

 

‘Rudrashila’:

  • It is the white water Rafting Expedition being undertaken by Kalidhar Battalion under the aegis of Battle Axe Division.
  • It has been organised to commemorate the 75th Raising day of the Kalidhar Battalion.
  • ‘Rudrashila’ takes its name from the famed Rudraprayag tributary of the Ganges River in the Mountains of Uttarakhand.

 

Pangong Tso lake:

Context: The Indian and Chinese armies clashed recently along the Pangong lake in Ladakh.

Key facts:

  • Pangon lake or Pangong Tso, a 135-km long lake, located in the Himalayas at the height of approximately 4,350 m, stretches out from India to China.
  • One-third of water body, its 45 km stretch, is in Indian control while the rest of the 90 km is under Chinese control.
  • It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.
  • It is a salt water lake.

Strategic significance: By itself, the lake does not have major tactical significance. But it lies in the path of the Chushul approach, one of the main approaches that China can use for an offensive into Indian-held territory.

 

Drought Toolbox:
Context: At the ongoing 14th Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), a Drought Toolbox has been launched.

What is it?

  1. A kind of knowledge bank that may be used by vulnerable countries, such as India, to reduce drought risk and be better prepared and effectively respond to it.
  2. It is a web page that provides involved stakeholders easy access to case studies and other resources to support action on drought preparedness with aim to boost resilience of people and ecosystems to drought.
  3. It contains tools that strengthen ability of vulnerable countries and enable communities to anticipate and prepare for drought effectively, mitigate their impacts and find land management tools that help them to build resilience to drought.
  4. It will help countries in framing/fine-tuning their respective national drought policies in due course based on monitoring, forecast, and early warning.

 

World University Rankings 2020:

Released by TIMES Higher Education (THE). This is 16th edition.

Included over 1,300 universities from 92 countries.

Key facts:

  • 56 Indian institutions (up from 49 last year) made entry into the table this year, making India the fifth most-represented country in the list and the third in Asia (behind Japan and China).
  • The University of Oxford retained the top position for the consecutive fourth year.
  • The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore topped the Indian universities on the list (although its ranking fell from the 251-300 group in 2019 to the 301-350 bracket in 2020). It now shares this position with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar- which made a debut entry into the list.
  • It is the first time since 2012, that an Indian university has not featured in the top 300 of the ranking.