Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Scotland’s proposed law to make sanitary products free for all.
2. WHO raises global risk of coronavirus to ‘very high’, what does this mean?
3. Eurasian otter.
4. Ekam Fest.
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
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Features, findings and significance.
Context: Under CSR initiative, Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL) contributes Rs 1 crore towards the National Sports Development Fund.
What is NSDF?
Established in 1998 under the Charitable Endowments Act 1890 and notified by Government of India in November, 1998.
Purpose of creation is to impart momentum and flexibility to assisting the cause of sports. Role of the Fund is supplementary to the overall policy and activities of the Department of Sports in achieving excellence in sports.
OBJECTIVES OF NSDF:
- To administer and apply the moneys of the Fund for promotion of sports in general and specific sports disciplines and individual sports persons in particular for achieving excellence at the National and of International level;
- To impart special training and coaching in relevant sports disciplines to sports persons, coaches and sports specialists;
- To construct and maintain infrastructure for promotion of sports and games;
- To supply sports equipments to organizations and individuals for promotion of sports and games;
- To identify problems and take up research and development studies for providing support to excellence in sports;
- To promote international cooperation, in particular, exchanges which may promote the development of sports;
- To provide low-interest or interest-free loans for projects and activities related to any of the aforesaid objects.
MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF NSDF:
Council of NSDF: The Fund is managed by a Council constituted by the Central Government. Union Minister in charge of Youth Affairs and Sports is the Chairperson of the Council. Members of the Council include senior Officers of the Department of Sports, Chairman & Managing Directors of Private and Public Sector Companies / Corporations, representatives of Sports Promotion Boards, etc.
- Briefly understand about funds set up under various government bodies.
- Know their objectives and funding mechanism.
Write a note on the objectives and significance of NSDF.
Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
What to study?
For Prelims: What are rare diseases? How do they occur?
For Mains: Their spread, concerns and issues associated.
Context: Rare Disease Day is observed on February 29.
What is a rare disease?
A rare disease, also referred to as an orphan disease, is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population.
Most rare diseases are genetic, and are present throughout a person’s entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear.
The most common rare diseases recorded in India are Haemophilia, Thalassemia, sickle-cell anaemia and primary immuno deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease, Hirschsprung disease, Gaucher’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemangiomas and certain forms of muscular dystrophies.
While there is no universally accepted definition of rare diseases, countries typically arrive at their own descriptions, taking into consideration disease prevalence, its severity and the existence of alternative therapeutic options. In the US, for instance, a rare disease is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people. The same definition is used by the National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD).
Concerns and challenges:
- They pose a significant challenge to health care systems because of the difficulty in collecting epidemiological data, which in turn impedes the process of arriving at a disease burden, calculating cost estimations and making correct and timely diagnoses, among other problems.
- Many cases of rare diseases may be serious, chronic and life-threatening. In some cases, the affected individuals, mostly children, may also suffer from some form of a handicap.
- As per the 2017 report, over 50 per cent of new cases are reported in children and these diseases are responsible for 35 per cent of deaths in those below the age of one, 10 per cent of deaths between the ages of one and five, and 12 per cent between five and 15.
Efforts by India towards this:
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in January this year, published a national policy for the treatment of 450 ‘rare diseases’. The Centre first prepared such a policy in 2017 and appointed a committee in 2018 to review it.
Overview of the policy:
- The policy intends to kickstart a registry of rare diseases, which will be maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- Under the policy, there are three categories of rare diseases — requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases that require long-term treatment but where the cost is low, and those needing long-term treatments with high cost. Some of the diseases in the first category include osteopetrosis and immune deficiency disorders, among others.
- Financial assistance: As per the policy, the assistance of Rs 15 lakh will be provided to patients suffering from rare diseases that require a one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme. The treatment will be limited to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
- India’s policy on rare diseases.
- Which diseases can be classified as rare diseases?
What are rare diseases? How do they spread? And how can the spread be prevented?
Sources: Down to Earth.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview and key features of the agreement.
For Mains: Significance, concerns remaining, relevance for India.
Context: US and Taliban have signed a historic agreement- “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan”- in Doha, Qatar. It outlines a series of commitments from the US and the Taliban related to troop levels, counterterrorism, and the intra-Afghan dialogue aimed at bringing about “a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.” The agreement could pave the way to ending America’s longest-fought war.
Highlights of the agreement:
Military troops withdrawal: It lays out a 14-month timetable for the withdrawal of “all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel.”
Release of prisoners: The agreement also calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 “prisoners of the other side” on the first day of intra-Afghan negotiations. The relevant sides have the goal of releasing all the remaining prisoners over the course of the subsequent three months.
What Taliban will do?
- Taliban will take steps “to prevent any group or individual, including al-Qa’ida, from using the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
- Those steps include commitments that the Taliban will instruct its members “not to cooperate with groups or individuals threatening the security of the United States and its allies”.
- It “will also prevent any group or individual in Afghanistan from threatening the security of the United States and its allies, and will prevent them from recruiting, training, and fundraising and will not host them in accordance with the commitments in this agreement.”
The US has been at war in Afghanistan since 2001. This agreement in Doha came after more than a year of on and off negotiations with the militant group. The two sides had reached “an agreement in principle” in early September 2019.
- The Afghan government has been completely sidelined during the talks between the US and Taliban. The future for the people of Afghanistan is uncertain, and will depend on how Taliban honours its commitments and whether it goes back to the mediaeval practices of its 1996-2001 regime.
- Much will depend on whether the US and the Taliban are able to keep their ends of the bargain, and every step forward will be negotiated, and how the Afghan government and the political spectrum are involved.
Concerns here for India:
- Is India an ally?
In the Doha agreement, the Taliban has guaranteed “enforcement mechanisms that will prevent the use of the soil of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies”. However, it is unclear whether India, which is not a U.S. ally, is included in this definition, and whether Pakistan-backed groups that threaten India would still operate in Afghanistan.
- Impact of prisoner release and lifting sanctions:
India is also most worried about the “mainstreaming of the Haqqani network”, which Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists reportedly fight alongside and were responsible for the 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul. Release of prisoners would be a boost for these terror groups.
- Threats from Pakistan:
The U.S. has committed to taking Taliban leaders off the UN Security Council’s sanctions list by May 29, 2020, which could considerably bring down the number of terrorists Pakistan is accused of harbouring, according to the FATF greylist conditions.
- Recognition to Taliban:
As per the agreement, the US appears to have submitted to the possibility of a Taliban-led government, by extracting promises that the Taliban will not provide “visas, passports, travel documents or asylum” to those threatening the U.S. and its allies. This appears to sideline India’s support for the election process for leadership in Afghanistan.
India and Taliban:
India and the Taliban have had a bitter past. New Delhi nurses bitter memories from the IC-814 hijack in 1999, when it had to release terrorists — including Maulana Masood Azhar who founded Jaish-e-Mohammed that went on to carry out terror attacks on Parliament (2001), in Pathankot (2016) and in Pulwama (2019).
The Taliban perceived India as a hostile country, as India had supported the anti-Taliban force Northern Alliance in the 1990s.
India never gave diplomatic and official recognition to the Taliban when it was in power during 1996-2001.
Prelims link: Since, the agreement was signed in Doha, please concentrate on:
- Map based questions involving Qatar and its neighbouring countries including middle eastern Countries.
- Also, understand what is Black and Grey list of FATF.
How this agreement makes India vulnerable in its fight against terrorism?
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: 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.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is it? Key features?
For Mains: Significance and it’s relevance today.
Context: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore have developed a new bomb detection device called Raider-X.
What is RaIDer-X?
It is an explosives detection device. It can detect up to 20 explosives from a stand-off distance of two meters. Developed by the High Energy Material Research Laboratory (HEMRL) — an arm of the DRDO — in Pune and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. It can also discern bulk explosives even if they have been concealed.
The device has various applications including narcotics, for local police, for customs and other detection agencies who need to detect various elements which may be explosive or non-explosive in nature.
Most of the recent terrorist attacks had explosives that were made from easily available ingredients like petrol and gelatin sticks rather than high-end materials. And devices like RaIDer-X are incremental to thwarting the threat from homemade explosives.
Prelims Link: Similar such technologies developed by DRDO.
What is RaIDer-X? Why is it significant?
Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is ILP? Where it is in existence?
For Mains: Need for and significance of ILP, demand for ILP in other states, feasibility.
Context: Tribal organisations in Meghalaya have been demanding the ILP system for restricting the entry of outsiders into the State. These demands have turned into violent protests across the state in the past few days.
What is an ILP?
It is a document required by non- natives to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system.
- At present, four Northeastern states are covered, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.
- Both the duration of stay and the areas allowed to be accessed for any non native are determined by the ILP.
- The ILP is issued by the concerned state government and can be availed both by applying online or in person.
The Inner Line Permit is an extension of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873. The Britishers framed regulations restricting entry in certain designated areas. This was done to protect the Crown’s interest in certain states by preventing “British subjects” (Indians) from trading within these regions.
In 1950, the term ‘British subjects’ was replaced with ‘Citizens of India’. Today, all non natives require the permit. This was done to protect the indigenous tribal communities of these states from exploitation.
What about foreigners?
An ILP is only valid for domestic tourists. For foreign tourists in:
Manipur: No permit is required. But, have to register themselves.
Mizoram: No permit is required. But, need to register.
Nagaland: No permit is required. However, they need to register.
Arunachal Pradesh: Tourists need a Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
Need for ILP:
- Preservation of indigenous culture and tradition.
- Prevents illegal migrants and encroachment by outsiders.
Should Meghalaya be brought under ILP?
The ILP is considered the only mechanism to contain influx in the state. Influx is perceived as dangerous because it could upset the fragile demographic balance of the tribals of Meghalaya.
Influx definitely is a matter of concern but it requires better solutions than the ILP, not instant solutions demanded by pressure groups. Indeed, how can such a far-reaching policy be decided by one or two groups?
Prelims link: Since ILP is frequently in News, concentrate on:
- Map based questions involving North- Eastern states.
- NE state and their international neighbours.
Analyse the issue of imposition of ILP system in India’s northeastern states and the dilemma this system has posed to the Indian government.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims
Scotland’s proposed law to make sanitary products free for all:
The Scottish Parliament recently passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill that aims to make sanitary products free for women of all age groups.
When passed, Scotland may become the first country in the world to end ‘period poverty’.
What is ‘period poverty’?
‘Period poverty Scotland’ website mentions some circumstances that make menstruation a “difficult experience” for women. These include homelessness, coercive, controlling and violent relationships and health conditions such as endometriosis. “Some trans people may also experience difficulties in accessing sanitary products,” it says.
WHO raises global risk of coronavirus to ‘very high’, what does this mean?
WHO characterises risk of spread and impact of a disease on a scale that ranges from “low risk” to “very high” level of risk.
It defines the different characterisations of risk as follows:
Low Risk: “Managed according to standard response protocols, routine control programmes and regulation (e.g. monitoring through routine surveillance systems)”.
Moderate Risk: “Roles and responsibility for the response must be specified. Specific monitoring or control measures required (e.g. enhanced surveillance, additional vaccination campaigns)”.
High Risk: “Senior management attention needed: there may be a need to establish command and control structures; a range of additional control measures will be required some of which may have significant consequences”.
Very High Risk: “Immediate response required even if the event is reported out of normal working hours. Immediate senior management attention needed (e.g. the command and control structure should be established within hours); the implementation of control measures with serious consequences is highly likely”.
Exhibition-cum-Fair “EKAM Fest” is being organised by National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) under M/o Social Justice & Empowerment.
Aim: To promote craftsmanship & products of divyang (physically-challenged) artisans and entrepreneurs.
IUCN Red List: Near Threatened
Protection: CITES: Appendix I, Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule II.
Habitat: Found throughout Europe and in Asia. In India, the species is distributed in the Himalayan foothills, southern Western Ghats and the central Indian landscape.
Why in News? Spotted in Chilika lake.