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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB Summary, 05 December 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB Summary, 05 December 2019

Table of contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. ‘eat right movement’ campaign
  2. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2019.
  3. Centre stops online sale of medicines.

GS Paper 3:

  1. Bharat Bond ETF.
  2. Global Carbon Project.
  3. Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA).
  4. World Soil Day.

Facts for prelims:

  1. Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium 2019 (PACS 2019).

  2. Meteor missiles.

  3. Bougainville

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders


‘Eat right movement’ campaign

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the movement, what are TPCs, need for a limit.

For Mains: Significance and the need for staying healthy, government measures to keep the country healthy and raise awareness about it.

Context: Western Railway’s Mumbai Central Terminus has become India’s first Eat Right Station. Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has rated the station with four stars.


  • The station was graded on the basis of food safety and hygiene, availability of healthy diet, food handling at preparation and food waste management among others.
  • The food was certified and rated after a thorough inspection. ‘Eat Right Station’ is a part of the ‘Eat Right India’ initiative that was launched by FSSAI in 2018 to help passengers make a healthy choice.


About Eat Right Movement:

It was launched by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The movement aims to cut down salt/sugar and oil consumption by 30% in three years.

It also aims to engage and enable citizens to improve their health and well-being by making the right food choices.


Measures in place:

FSSAI has put in place robust regulatory measures under three major pillars: Eat Safe, Eat Health and Eat Sustainably for the programme.

FSSAI has prescribed a limit for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) at 25% in cooking oil to avoid the harmful effects of reused cooking oil.


Significance of the campaign:

The country is in need of a movement on preventive health for all in the backdrop of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases including diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases, widespread deficiencies of vitamins and minerals and rampant food-borne illnesses.

The Eat Right India movement acts as a crucial preventive healthcare measure to trigger social and behavioural change through a judicious mix of regulatory measures, combined with soft interventions for ensuring awareness and capacity building of food businesses and citizens alike.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

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

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2019

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features.

For Mains: Significance and the need for legislation.


Context: The Union Cabinet has approved The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

It seeks to amend The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007.


What’s new in the bill:

  1. Definition of ‘children’ and ‘parents’, ‘maintenance’ and ‘welfare’ has been expanded.
  2. Mode of submission of application for maintenance has been enlarged.
  3. Ceiling of Rs 10,000/- as maintenance amount has been removed.
  4. Preference to dispose of applications of senior citizens, above eighty years of age, early has been included.
  5. Registration of Senior Citizens Care Homes/Homecare Service Agencies etc. have been included.
  6. Minimum standards for senior citizen care homes has been included in the Bill.
  7. Appointment of Nodal Police Officers for Senior Citizens in every Police Station and District level Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens has been included.
  8. Maintenance of Helpline for senior citizens has been included.”


Elderly as a resource:

The elderly should be seen as a blessing, not a burden. The elderly are becoming the fastest growing, but underutilized resource available to humanity. Rather than putting them aside, physically (and mentally), to be cared for separately, they should be integrated into the lives of communities where they can make a substantial contribution to improving social conditions. The benefits of turning the ‘problem’ of the elderly into a ‘solution’ for other social problems is being demonstrated in several countries.


Need of the hour:

As a signatory to Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), India has the responsibility to formulate and implement public policy on population ageing.

Issues of poverty, migration, urbanisation, ruralisation and feminisation compound the complexity of this emerging phenomenon. Public policy must respond to this bourgeoning need and mainstream action into developmental planning.

Gender and social concerns of elderly, particularly elderly women, must be integrated at the policy level.

  • The elderly, especially women, should be represented in decision making.
  • Increasing social/widow pension and its universalisation is critical for expanding the extent and reach of benefits.
  • Renewed efforts should be made for raising widespread awareness and access to social security schemes such as National Old Age Pension and Widow Pension Scheme. Provisions in terms of special incentives for elderly women, disabled, widowed should also be considered.

Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

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

Centre stops online sale of medicines

What to study?

For Prelims: About DCGI.

For Mains: Need for regulation and significance of e pharmacies.


Context: Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has asked all states and Union Territories to prohibit sale of drugs by online pharmacies as per the Delhi High Court order.



The Delhi High Court in December 2018 had ordered the ban on sale of illegal or unlicensed online sale of medicines till the government drafts rules to regulate e-pharmacies. 


How online pharmacies are currently operating in India?

Online pharmacies are operating in the country without a drug licence as there are no rules framed for the sector. 


What’s the issue now?

The PIL filed in the court observed that the online illegal sale of medicines would lead to a drug epidemic, drug abuse and misuse of habit forming and addictive drugs.

The PIL also said that since there was no mechanism to control the sale of medicines online, this puts health and lives of people at a high risk and affects their right to a safe and healthy life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

In response, E-pharmacies told the Court that they do not require a license for online sale of drugs and prescription medicines as they do not sell them, instead they are only delivering the medications akin to food-delivery app Swiggy.


Other risks that exist in buying drugs online:

  1. Supply of fake and illegal drugs.
  2. Abuse on account of fake or forged or no prescriptions.
  3. Lack of verification of the ultimate user.
  4. Unhealthy competition.
  5. Abuse of critical health data generated online.
  6. Mishandling during transport.


Draft rules:

Ministry of health and family welfare, in September 2018, issued a draft notification on the sale of drugs by E-Pharmacies. It sought to amend the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules to enable registration of the e pharmacies and monitoring of their functioning.


Highlights of the Draft:

  1. All the e-pharmacies have to be registered compulsorily with the Central Drugs Standard control organisation.
  2. Psychotropic substances, habit-forming medicines like cough syrup and sleeping pills, schedule x drugs will not be sold online.
  3. Apart from registration, the e pharmacies have to obtain a license from the State government to sell the medicines online.
  4. The application of registration of e-pharmacy will have to be accompanied by a sum of Rs 50,000 while asserting that an e-pharmacy registration holder will have to comply with provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000).
  5. The details of patient shall be kept confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person other than the central government or the state government concerned, as the case may be.
  6. The supply of any drug shall be made against a cash or credit memo generated through the e-pharmacy portal and such memos shall be maintained by the e-pharmacy registration holder as record.
  7. Both state and central drug authorities will be monitoring the data of sales and transactions of e pharmacies. Any violation of rules the registration of e-pharmacies will be suspended, and it can be cancelled too.
  8. The premises from which e-pharmacy is operated regular inspections will be conducted every two years by the central licencing authority.


Need for regulation:

Ministry of Health, Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation and an expert committee appointed by the drug consultative committee have already concluded that the online sale of medicines is in contravention of the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and the other allied laws. 

Still lakhs of drugs are being sold on internet every day. Some of the drugs/medicines contain narcotic and psychotropic substances and some can even cause antibiotic resistant-bacteria which is a threat not only to the patient but to the humanity at large.

Sources: the Hindu.


Bougainville and nationhood

What to study?

For Prelims: Where is Bougainville?

For Mains: How a region becomes an independent country? And why UN recognition is necessary?

bougainville island mapWhere is Bougainville?

It is an island in the Pacific.

Why in news? It is holding a referendum to decide if it wants to remain a part of Papua New Guinea or become an independent country.


How does a territory become a new country?

There is no straightforward rule. A region’s quest for nationhood mainly depends on how many countries and international organisations it manages to convince to recognise it as a country.

The biggest sanction of nationhood is the United Nations recognising a territory as a country.


Why UN recognition matters?

With UN recognition, a new country has access to the World Bank, the IMF, etc.

  • Its currency is recognised, which allows it to trade.
  • There is protection against parent country’s aggression, and international trade.


And as per 1933’s Montevideo Convention, a region wanting to become independent should meet 4 criteria:

A country-hopeful must have a defined territory, people, government, and the ability to form relationships with other countries.

Sources: Indian Express.

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

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

Bharat Bond ETF

What to study?

For Prelims: What is Bharat Bond ETF?

For Mains: Features and significance.


Context: The government has approved the launch of Bharat Bond ETF, India’s first corporate bond exchange traded fund, comprising debt of state-run companies.



  • This move will allow retail investors to buy government debt.
  • It will provide retail investors easy and low-cost access to bond markets, with smaller amount as low as ₹1,000.
  • They will provide tax efficiency as compared to bonds, as coupons (interest) from the bonds are taxed depending on the investor’s tax slab.


Key features of Bharat Bond ETF:

  1. It is a basket of bonds issued by central public sector enterprises/undertakings or any other government organization bonds. 
  2. It will have a fixed maturity of three and ten years and will trade on the stock exchanges.
  3. It will invest in a portfolio of bonds of state-run companies and other government entities.
  4. It will track an underlying index on risk replication basis, matching credit quality and average maturity of the index.
  5. The index will be constructed by an independent index provider, National Stock Exchange.

Sources: pib.

Topics Covered:

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

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Global Carbon Project

What to study?

For Prelims: About Global Carbon Project.

For Mains: About Carbon cycle, increase in CO2, measures needed to control the pollution.


Observations made by the Global Carbon Project on India:

  • India’s emissions in 2019 was likely to be only 1.8 per cent higher than in 2018.
  • Weak economic growth in India has led to slower growth in oil and natural gas use.
  • With a weakening economy, growth in India’s generation of electricity has slowed from 6 per cent per year to under 1 per cent in 2019, despite electrification of villages adding to potential demand.
  • Moreover, the addition of a very wet monsoon led to very high hydropower generation and a decline in generation from coal.


About Global Carbon Project:

Formed in 2001 to help the international science community to establish a common, mutually agreed knowledge base that supports policy debate and action to slow the rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

It is a Global Research Project of Future Earth and a research partner of the World Climate Research Programme.

It works collaboratively with the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, the World Climate Programme, the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change and Diversitas, under the Earth System Science Partnership.

Its projects include global budgets for three dominant greenhouse gases — CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide — and complementary efforts in urban, regional, cumulative, and negative emissions.

Sources: Indian Express.

Topics Covered:

Conservation related issues.

Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA)

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: What is ENA? How is it regulated?


Why in News?

Alcohol manufacturers citing a shortage of domestic supplies have sought a reduction in import duty of Extra Neutral Alcohol to make it cost-effective for them to import from global markets.

What is ENA?

It is a byproduct of the sugar industry.

Formed from molasses that are a residue of sugarcane processing.

It is the primary raw material for making alcoholic beverages.


  • It is colourless food-grade alcohol that does not have any impurities.
  • It has a neutral smell and taste and typically contains over 95 per cent alcohol by volume.

Other applications of ENA:

  1. An essential ingredient in the manufacture of cosmetics and personal care products such as perfumes, toiletries, hair spray, etc.
  2. Utilized in the production of some lacquers, paints and ink for the printing industry, as well as in pharmaceutical products such as antiseptics, drugs, syrups, medicated sprays.

Sources: Indian Express.


Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


World Soil Day

What to study?

For Prelims: World Soil Day 2019- key facts.

For Mains: Soil pollution- reasons, concerns, challenges and measures.

ContextWorld Soil Day is celebrated every year on 5th of December by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations.

Aim: To communicate messages on importance of soil quality for food security, healthy ecosystems and human well-being.

Theme 2019: ‘Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future’.

Why December 5 was chosen?

It corresponds with the official birthday of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the King of Thailand, who officially sanctioned the event.

Soil pollution- concerns:

Soil pollution is a hidden danger that lurks beneath our feet.

  1. 1/3 of our global soils are already degraded. Yet we risk losing more due to this hidden danger. Soil pollution can be invisible and seems far away but everyone, everywhere is affected.
  2. With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils, poisons the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
  3. Most of the pollutants originate from human activities, such as unsustainable farming practices, industrial activities and mining, untreated urban waste and other non-environmental friendly practices.
  4. Technology improvements may also lead to new contaminants being released into the environment.


In the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 12, and 15 have targets which commend direct consideration of soil resources, especially soil pollution and degradation in relation to food security.

Need for conservation and protection of soil:

  1. Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help us meet the challenges of a changing climate.
  2. 815 million people are food insecure and 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but we can mitigate this through soil.
  3. 95% of our food comes from soil.
  4. 33% of our global soils are already degraded.

Way ahead:

According to the FAO, it is vital to tackle soil pollution to reduce the risk of food security and human health. By preventing soil pollution, we can also address soil degradation, adapt to climate change and stem rural migration.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for prelims:

Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium 2019 (PACS 2019):

The latest edition is being held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

Theme: ‘A Collaborative Approach to Regional Security’.

Objective: To further strengthen existing cooperation between Air Forces of participating countries and also to pave way for enhanced interaction in future.

Participants: Air Chiefs from across the Indo-Pacific region are participating in the conference. In addition to India, Air Chiefs from 20 countries are participating.


Meteor missiles:

Context: India has requested for an early delivery of Meteor air-to-air missiles from France.

Key facts:

  • They are beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles.
  • Have a range of 150 km and no escape zone of 60 km.