Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 01 November 2019
Table of contents:
GS Paper 1:
- Rashtriya Ekta Diwas.
GS Paper 2:
- Jammu and Kashmir Bifurcation.
- Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA).
- Lymphatic filariasis.
- National Health Profile, 2019.
GS Paper 1:
- Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: About the site, findings and significance.
Context: Excavation by Archaeological Survey of India in Gottiprolu, Andhra Pradesh indicate it as a Trade Centre of Early Historic Period.
Where is it?
Gottiprolu lies on the right bank of a distributary of river Swarnamukhi about eighty kilometers from Tirupati and Nellore.
What has been unearthed?
- Among many other antiquities unearthed are one life size Vishnu sculpture and a wide variety of pottery of the early centuries of current era.
- The excavation revealed the presence of brick-built structures in different sizes and forms.
- The available brick sizes are comparable with the Satavahana / Ikshvaku period structures in Krishna valley.
- On the basis of the brick size and associated findings they can be placed anywhere between 2nd – 1st century BCE or little later (nearly 2000 years old).
- Other interesting antiquity retrieved is the molded female terracotta figurine with two hands lifted upwards.
- Other major retrieved antiquities unearthed are copper and lead coins, iron spear head, stone celts, terracotta beads, ear stud in semi precious stone and hopscotches.
- The proximity of the site to the seacoast suggests that the site could have served as a strategic settlement involved in maritime trade.
- These settlements could have been an important trade centre as indicated by the presence of imitated amphorae wares that were mostly used to transport liquid commodities.
- The findings of assorted stone tools of Palaeolithic and Neolithic periods from secondary contexts suggest that prehistoric people also occupied this area.
- A series of broken terracotta pipes fitted into one another revealed about the civic amenities maintained by the occupants of this site. The drainage system pattern is understood by the exposed remains of the drainage at the site.
- The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
What to study?
For Prelims: Role and contributions of Sardar Patel in India’s freedom struggle.
For Mains: Impact and outcomes of his actions pre and post independence.
Context: Rashtriya Ekta Diwas was observed on 31st October across the nation.
It marks the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
The government, in 2014, decided to observe Sardar Patel Jayanti Day as Ekta Diwas. This occasion provides an opportunity to re-affirm the inherent strength and resilience of the nation to withstand the threats to its unity, integrity and security.
About Sardar Vallabhai Patel:
Sardar Patel is credited with uniting all 562 princely states in pre-independent India to build the Republic of India.
Role in the Indian National Movement:
- 1917– Elected as the Secretary of the Gujarat Sabha, the Gujarat wing of the Indian National Congress.
- 1918– Led a massive “No Tax Campaign” that urged the farmers not to pay taxes after the British insisted on tax after the floods in Kaira. His effort to bring together the farmers of his area brought him the title of ‘Sardar’.
- Supported the non-cooperation Movementlaunched by Gandhi and Patel toured the nation with him.
- 1928– When the lands of farmers were seized after they refused to pay the extra tax to the government, Patel helped the farmers by striking a deal between the government and farmers’ representatives.
- 1930– Imprisoned for participating in the famous Salt Satyagraha movement initiated by Mahatma Gandhi.
- 1931- Elected as the President of Indian National Congress in its Karachi sessionwhere the party deliberated its future path.
- Patel was also compelled to use coercion by launching ‘Operation Polo’to liberate and integrate Hyderabad after the Nizam of Hyderabad entertained false hopes of either joining Pakistan or remaining independent.
GS Paper 2:
- Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key changes.
For Mains: Impact, significance and challenges ahead.
Context: Jammu and Kashmir is no more a state; it has been divided into two Union Territories.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 also comes into effect from 31st October 2019.
Here is what has changed in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh:
- The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ranbir Penal Code will cease to exist.
- The Union Territory of J&K will have a legislature while the UT of Ladakh will have no legislature.
- Both the Union Territories will have Lieutenant Governors as administrators who will be appointed by the President of India. Their tenure will be determined by the President.
- Four sitting members of the Council of States representing the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir shall be deemed to have been elected to fill the seats allotted to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Legislative assembly of J&K:
- The Delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies Order, 1976 shall stand amended as directed in the Second Schedule of the Act.
- The Election Commission may conduct the elections to the House of the People for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as per the allocation of seats specified in the Delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies Order, 1976 as amended by this Act.
- The provisions which are applicable to “Union territory of Puducherry” shall also apply to the “Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to be filled by persons chosen by direct election shall be 107.
- Seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than ten per cent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has the power to make laws.
Abolition of legislative council:
- On the abolition of the Legislative Council, every member thereof shall cease to be such members.
- All Bills pending in the Legislative Council immediately before the appointed day shall lapse on the abolition of the Council.
Powers of Lieutenant Governor:
- The Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh shall be assisted by advisor(s) to be appointed by the Central Government.
- Lieutenant Governor of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir may nominate two members to the Legislative Assembly to give representation to women, if in his opinion, women are not adequately represented in the Legislative Assembly.
- The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
- The Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor and the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.
- Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Lieutenant Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Fourth Schedule.
- The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the common High Court for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh.
- The Judges of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir holding office immediately before the appointed day shall become on that day the Judges of the High Court.
- The expenditure in respect of salaries and allowances of the Judges of the common High Court shall be allocated amongst the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh on the basis of population ratio.
All India Services officials:
- The members of the cadres of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir, on and from the appointed day, shall continue to function on the existing cadres.
- The centre will be in direct control of the Jammu and Kashmir police and law and order matters.
Sources: the Hindu.
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
What to study?
For Prelims: PISA- Key facts.
For Mains: Why India stayed away from PISA for years and issues associated.
Context: Union Human Resource Development Minister recently reviewed preparations for PISA 2021.
He instructed all the Deputy Commissioners to work hard to make India successful in this examination.
Cabinet has already given ex-post facto approval to the Agreement between India and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for participating in the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA), which will be conducted by the OECD in 2021. The Agreement was signed on 28th January 2019.
India’s participation in PISA:
- India had taken part in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009 and bagged the 72nd rank among 74 participating countries.
- Then UPA government had boycotted PISA, blaming “out of context” questions for India’s dismal performance.
- Later, the HRD Ministry, under the NDA-II government, revisited this decision in 2016 and the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) had set up a committee to review the matter and submitted its report in December 2016.
- The report recommended for participation in test in 2018. However, India missed the application deadline for the 2018 cycle.
About the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA):
- It is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years.
- First conducted in 2000, the major domain of study rotates between reading, mathematics, and science in each cycle.
- PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving.
- PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES.
In 2012 PISA test, schools of Shanghai in China topped reading, mathematics and science test, followed closely by Singapore.
In 2015, Singapore, Japan and Estonia were ranked as top three countries, in that order.
What makes PISA unique?
PISA is the only international education survey to measure the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds, an age at which students in most countries are nearing the end of their compulsory time in school.
PISA is also unique in the way it looks at:
- Public policy issues.
- Lifelong learning.
What might have gone wrong for India in 2009?
India performed very poorly – ranking 73rd out of 74 countries that participated in that round, finishing ahead of only Kazakhstan.
- The result was so shocking that many people assume that it must have been an aberration.
- Some feel that the students may not have been prepared for the test. Others believe that the students may have been tested in English, which they were not proficient in (actually, all students were tested in their medium of instruction.)
- Still, others feel that the performance must have been poor because only government schools were tested – our private school students would have done much better.
- But a well-publicized study by Education Initiatives (EI) in 2006 and repeated in 2012 established that even students of our top schools would perform well below the international average in grade 4.
Why assessments like the PISA turn out to be difficult for most Indian students?
- The mentality that questions can be only from the textbook.
- Very poor reading ability.
- Process of answering questions – pattern-matching versus problem-solving.
- When Indian students encounter PISA-type questions, many of them freeze at the first sign of the unfamiliar and decide that they have not ‘learnt this question type’ and cannot solve it.
- Low understanding of processes or concepts and even comprehension skills.
- Each of the above represents an entrenched, yet solvable problem in the Indian education system.
- Though there are no quick-fix solutions, there are key levers available to create change:
- Changing the pattern of Board Exam questions – and teacher training starting with teachers from grade 5 or so are two strong levers in our control.
- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Lymphatic filariasis- key facts, global concern on the disease, Triple-drug therapy.
Context: National Symposium on Lymphatic Filariasis was held in India on the theme ‘United to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis’.
Also called as elephantiasis, it is Caused by infection with parasitic worms living in the lymphatic system. The larval stages of the parasite (microfilaria) circulate in the blood and are transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes.
May Cause abnormal enlargement of body parts, and leading to severe disability and social stigmatization of those affected.
The parasites are transmitted by four main types of mosquitoes: Culex, Mansonia, Anopheles and Aedes.
Triple drug therapy:
The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending three drug treatment to accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis.
- The treatment, known as IDA, involves a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate and albendazole.
- The plan is to administer these drugs for two consecutive years. The life of the adult worm is hardly four years, so it would die a natural death without causing any harm to the person.
Need for and significance of the therapy:
- Lymphatic filariasis poses a grave threat to India.
- Over 40% of worldwide cases are found in India.
- Since 2004, two drug therapy for lymphatic filariasis has been in place but the addition of the third drug now will give a boost to the overall campaign.
- India has missed earlier deadlines to eradicate the disease by 2015 and 2017.
- The global deadline now is 2020 and the three drug approach may help the country get there.
It is an alliance of partners from 72 LF endemic national country programmes, NGOs, private sectors, academic and research institutes and international development agencies that assists WHO’s Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis.
Sources: the hindu.
- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings, key areas of improvement.
For Mains: Concerns raised, challenges ahead and measures needed.
Context: National Health Profile, 2019 has been released by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI). This is the 14th edition.
What is NHP?
Prepared by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI).
Covers comprehensive information on demographic, socio-economic health status, health finance indicators, health infrastructure and health of human resources in the country.
Objective: To create a versatile database of health information and making it available to all stakeholders in the healthcare sector.
The NHP highlights substantial health information under major indicators:
- Demographic indicators (population and vital statistics).
- Socio-economic indicators (education, employment, housing and amenities, drinking water and sanitation).
- Health status indicators (incidence and prevalence of common communicable and non-communicable diseases and RCH), etc.
- The health finance indicators provides an overview of health insurance and expenditure on health, both public and Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOP), etc.
- Human resources provides an overview of availability of manpower working in the health sector.
- Health infrastructure section provides details of medical and dental colleges, AYUSH institutes, nursing courses and paramedical courses, etc.
- Life expectancy in India has increased from 49.7 years in 1970-75 to 68.7 years in 2012-16. life expectancy for females is 70.2 years and 67.4 years for males.
- Diabetes and hypertension rate are high among Indians while dengue and chikungunya are a cause of great concern to public health.
- Highest population density of 11,320 people per square kilometre was reported by the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) whereas Arunachal Pradesh reported the lowest population density of 17.
- High incidence in the young and economically active population.
There has been consistent decrease in the birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate in India since 1991 to 2017:
- As on 2017, India has registered birth rate of 20.2 per population of 1,000 and death rate of 6.3 while the natural growth rate was 13.9 per population of 1,000.
- The birth rate in rural areas was higher than in the urban.
- The death rate and natural growth rate were also higher in rural areas as compared to the urban.
- The population, however, continues to grow, as the decline in the birth rate is not as rapid as the decline in the death rate.
- The infant mortality rate (IMR) has declined considerably (33 per 1,000 live births in 2016), however differentials of rural (37) and urban (23) are still high.
- The Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for the country was 2.3 whereas in rural areas it was 2.5 and 1.8 in urban areas during 2016 as per the latest available information.