Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Safe Hands Challenge.
2. Danube-Oder-Elbe Canal.
Pib one liner facts.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Issues related to women.
What to study?
For Prelims: PC- features and benefits.
For Mains: Need for and significance of PC.
Context: The Supreme Court has upheld the right of serving Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the Navy to be granted permanent commission (PC) on a par with their male counterparts.
The judgment was based on a case filed by 17 women SSC officers who were denied PC and discharged despite completing 14 years of service as SSC officers.
- They had challenged a February 26, 2008 policy letter of the government granting PCs to SSC officers in all the three branches of the Armed Forces. However, the offer was restricted to certain categories and was to operate prospectively for the benefit of future batches inducted on SSCs after January 2009.
- The Supreme Court on 17 February upheld a 2010 Delhi high court ruling and had directed the Centre to ensure that women officers are given permanent commissions in the Indian Army on a par with male officers, including for command posting.
Observations made by the Supreme Court:
- Women officers have worked shoulder to shoulder with their men counterparts in every walk of service.
- Therefore, the “101 excuses” devised by the government, including motherhood and physiological limitations, reeked of a stereotypical mindset.
- And women naval officers cannot be denied the right to equal opportunity and dignity entitled to under the Constitution on specious grounds such as physiology, motherhood and physical attributes.
Implications of the judgment:
- Women naval officers will now be eligible to apply for permanent commission.
- All serving women short service commission (SSC) officers in at least seven wings, including the executive, engineering, electrical, education, law and logistics, will be eligible to apply.
- The grant of PCs will be subject to: (i) availability of vacancies in the stabilised cadre; (ii) Suitability of the candidate; and (iii) recommendation by the chief of Naval Staff.
What is a permanent commission?
A permanent commission entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till he/she retires unlike short service commission (SSC), which is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years, or a total of 14 years.
- SSC vs PC- differences and benefits.
- Status of PC for women in Army vs Navy vs Airforce.
- Women Special Entry scheme.
- Combat vs non combat roles.
Discuss why women officers in the navy should be granted permanent commission. What are the benefits associated?
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to women.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key changes made.
For Mains: Significance and the need for these changes.
Context: The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks to amend the MTP Act, 1971, was passed in Lok Sabha recently.
- It seeks to extend the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 weeks to 24 under special circumstances.
- The “special categories of women” include rape survivors, victims of incest, the differently abled and minors.
- The Bill proposes requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.
- It also provides for the requirement of opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks.
- Constitution of a Medical Board: Every state government is required to constitute a Medical Board. These Medical Boards will consist of the following members: (i) a gynaecologist, (ii) a paediatrician, (iii) a radiologist or sonologist, and (iv) any other number of members, as may be notified by the state government.
- Under the Bill, if any pregnancy occurs as a result of failure of any device or method used by a woman or her partner to limit the number of children, such an unwanted pregnancy may constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.
Need for overhaul:
- The present abortion law, which is about five decades old, permits abortion up to a maximum foetal gestation period of 20 weeks.
- In recent years, there have been strong demands to raise the foetal gestation period for abortion beyond 20 weeks.
- The move to amend the MTP Act, 1971 is a progressive step towards empowerment of women. It will provide greater reproductive rights to women as abortion is considered an important aspect of the reproductive health of women. Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions are largely preventable provided services are performed legally by trained practitioners.
Abortion laws across the world:
Abortion laws vary across the world. It is learnt that around 60 countries prescribe gestational limits.
- 52 % including France, the UK, Austria, Ethiopia, Italy, Spain, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and even Nepal, allow for termination beyond 20 weeks on the diagnosis of foetal abnormalities.
- Some countries go beyond even these limits with laws in 23 countries-Canada, Germany, Vietnam, Denmark, Ghana, and Zambia-allowing for abortion at any time during the pregnancy on the request of the mother.
- Provisions in the new bill vs 1971 act.
- Time limit for abortion in India vs other countries.
- Contraceptive-failure clause.
- Constitution and composition of Medical Board.
Discuss how Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 strives to provide reproductive rights to women in India.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of SBM- urban, targets.
For Mains: Implementation and significance of the mission.
Context: Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development recently tabled its report on the performance of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) in Lok Sabha.
- Despite the fact that work on three protocols under the next phase of Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban-2) — ODF+, ODF++ and Water Plus — is to be completed by 2024, the ground situation was not matching with the assigned timeline. The progress has been slow.
- Less than 30 per cent of the cities have been certified as ODF+ so far. Out of 4,320 cities declared ODF, as low as 1,276 cities have been certified as ODF+.
- The number of ODF++ cities — 411 — means that less than 10 per cent cities are certified as ODF++ so far.
What is ODF+, ODF++?
ODF+ and ODF++ were launched in August 2018 to further scale up and sustain the work undertaken by the cities after achieving the ODF status under Phase I of the Swachh Bharat Mission — Urban (SBM-Urban).
Eligibility: Cities that had been certified ODF at least once, on the basis of the ODF protocols, are eligible to declare themselves as SBM-ODF+ & SBM-ODF++.
What do they mean?
ODF+ and ODF++ are aimed towards proper maintenance of toilet facilities and safe collection, conveyance, treatment/disposal of all faecal sludge and sewage.
While ODF+ focuses on toilets with water, maintenance and hygiene, ODF++ focuses on toilets with sludge and septage management.
What is water plus?
Announced in August 2019, Water Plus aims to sustain toilets by treating and reuse of water. It contributes to the government’s focus on water conversation and reuse under the Jal Shakti Abhiyan and is in alignment with United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goal No 6 on clean water and sanitation.
Under Phase 1 of the Swachh Bharat Mission (U), 99 per cent of the cities became ODF, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) had claimed in December 2019.
- States have an important role in ensuring progress under these programmes.
- MoHUA needed to move faster with regard to the coverage of the three protocols so as to adhere to the timeline of 2024.
- Additional funds will be required to sustain the ODF status and ensure complete faecal sludge management.
- ODF+ vs ODF++ vs Water plus- introduction and targets.
- Phase 1 vs Phase 2 of SBM.
- SBM Urban GS Rural, implementing ministries.
- Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan vs SBM.
“Swachh Bharat Mission campaign has become the global benchmark for participatory and transformative development.” Elucidate.
Sources: down to earth.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Indian diaspora.
What to study?
For Prelims: Who are OCI cardholders, eligibility and benefits.
For Mains: Need for and significance of OCI.
Why in News?
Thousands of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders have been forced to cancel trips to India owing to the recent ban on their entry by the GOI and are apprehensive they will not be able to get back in the event of an emergency.
Who are OCI cardholders?
Government of India launched the ‘Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme’ by making amendments to Citizenship Act, 1955 in 2005.
On 09 January 2015, the Government of India discontinued the PIO card and merged it with OCI card.
Government of India allows the following categories of foreign nationals to apply for OCI Card.
Anyone who is applying for OCI card should hold a valid Passport of another country.
- Individuals who do not have citizenship of any other country are not eligible to gain an OCI status.
- Individuals whose parents or grandparents hold citizenship of Pakistan and Bangladesh are not eligible to apply.
Benefits for OCI cardholders:
- Lifelong Visa to visit India multiple times. (special permission needed for research work in India).
- No need to register with Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) or Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) for any length of stay.
- Except for acquisition of agricultural and plantation properties, OCI card holders have similar facilities that are extended to NRIs in economic, financial and educational fields.
- Same treatment as of NRIs in respect to Inter-country adoption of Indian children.
- Also treated at par with NRIs regarding – entry fees for national monuments, practice of professions like doctors, dentists, nurses, advocates, architects, Chartered Accountants & Pharmacists.
- At par with NRIs to participate in All India Pre-medical tests and such.
- Treated at par with Indian citizens in matters of traffic in airfares in Indian domestic sectors.
- Same entry fee as for Indians for entry into India’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
- OCI booklet can be used as identification to avail services. An affidavit can be attached with local address as residential proof.
There are certain restrictions placed on OCI card holders:
- Do not have right to vote.
- Do not have right to any public service/government jobs
- Cannot hold offices of – Prime Minister, President, Vice -President, Judge of Supreme Court and High Court, member of Parliament or Member of state legislative assembly or council.
- Cannot own agricultural property.
- Definition of Citizen.
- POI vs OCI vs NRI.
- Who can grant and revoke citizenship?
- Dual citizenship in India.
- Applicability of right to vote and contest in elections for OCI card holders.
- Can OCI holders buy agricultural land?
- Who cannot be issued OCI cards?
Who are overseas citizens of India? What are the benefits available for OCI card holders? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: PAs- roles, functions and regulation.
As per the new guidelines:
- Capital requirements for payment aggregators has been reduced to Rs 15 crore at the time of application for the licence.
- This needs to be increased to Rs 25 crore within three years of operations.
- Existing non-bank entities offering payment aggregation (PA) services shall apply for authorisation on or before June 30, 2021.
- Pure-play payment gateway companies would be separated as an entity and would be identified as technology service providers for banks and non-banks.
- PAs have also been asked to adhere to strict security guidelines, adhere to all KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) rules.
- The guidelines have also mandated that PAs need to check their merchant customers are not involved in selling of prohibited or fake items.
- The central bank has also asked PAs to set up designated nodal offices to deal with customer grievance.
- The RBI has prohibited PAs from allowing online transactions to be done with ATM pin as the second factor of authentication, which few payment gateway companies were offering as a service.
Who are payment aggregators?
These are players who integrate with e-commerce companies and connect them with banks. They receive payments on behalf of these companies and transfer the money to their accounts.
Entities like Billdesk, CCAvenue, Firstdata, Razorpay, Cashfree, Paytm Payment Gateway and others are offering payment services to ecommerce companies. Given the largescale adoption of digital payments and emergence of so many players, the RBI expressed interest in regulating the space.
- Payment aggregators vs Payment Gateways- functions.
- Capital requirements.
- NBFCs vs SFBs.
Who are payment aggregators? Why there is a need for regulation of these entities? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
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 are PFZs, Oceansat?
For Mains: Significance of PFZs.
Context: The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has reported that Oceansat Satellite data are used to prepare the Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories on the potential rich fishing areas and provide to the sea faring fishermen in all states.
How are these zones identified?
This methodology utilizes data on chlorophyll concentration (Chl) obtained from ISRO’s Oceansat-2 satellite and the sea surface temperature from National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA / USA satellites).
- Launched in 2009, it is designed to provide service continuity for operational users of the Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM) instrument on Oceansat-1.
- The main objectives of OceanSat-2 are to study surface winds and ocean surface strata, observation of chlorophyll concentrations, monitoring of phytoplankton blooms, study of atmospheric aerosols and suspended sediments in the water.
Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) device:
For seamless and effective dissemination of emergency information and communication on disaster warnings, Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and Ocean States Forecasts (OSF) to fishermen, the Government today launched the Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) device.
The GEMINI device receives and transfers the data received from GAGAN satellite/s to a mobile through Bluetooth communication. A mobile application developed by INCOIS decodes and displays the information in nine regional languages.
- GEMINI Device.
- Samudra project- implementation and objectives.
- How are PFZs identified?
- Geosynchronous vs Geostationary satellites.
- Where are earth observation satellites placed?
Discuss what are potential fishing zones and how they are identified.
Facts for Prelims
Safe Hands Challenge:
It is a campaign launched by the World Health Organization in the wake of 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign urges everyone to wash their hands regularly for 40 seconds to keep themselves safe and prevent the transmission of disease.
It intends to connect the Danube, Oder and Elbe rivers and thus provide another navigable link from the Black Sea to the North and Baltic Seas.
Why in News? Environmental organisations from across central and eastern Europe are criticising this project. They say, the project, if constructed, would destroy the region’s river landscapes, in violation of EU environmental laws.
Pib one liner facts
- India, one of the major fish producing nations in the world stands 2nd in aquaculture production in the world.
- Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, have developed a starch-based ‘hemostat’ material that concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood by physically absorbing excess fluid.
- Electricity is a concurrent subject, and the distribution of electricity is handled by the states and state distribution utilities.
- Mission Parivar Vikas was launched in November 2016 for substantially increasing access to contraceptives and family planning services in146 high fertility districts with Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3 and above in seven high focus states.
- Revised Mother and Child Protection Card is the joint initiative of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and the Ministry of Woman and Child Development.
- Components of Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram: Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs), Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation (WIFS) Programme and Peer Educator Programme.
- Under the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi, a component of rare diseases has been included w.e.f. 01.01.2019 for providing one-time financial assistance upto Rs.15 lakh to patients belonging to families living below threshold poverty line for treatment of specified Rare Diseases amenable to one-time treatment in Government hospitals.
- The Indian Pharmaceutical industry is 3rdlargest in the world in terms of volume and 14th largest in terms of value.
- National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) fixes the ceiling price of scheduled formulations adopted from National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and new drugs as per the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013 (DPCO, 2013).
- Government fixes MSPs of 22 mandated crops including wheat, pulses and oilseeds on the basis of recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP), after considering the views of State Governments and Central Ministries/Departments concerned & other relevant factors. In addition, MSP for Toria and De-Husked coconut is also fixed on the basis of MSPs of Rapeseed & Mustard and Copra respectively.
- Nilavembu Kudineer, a Siddha medicine has proven effect in the prevention and management of Dengue and Chikungunya in epidemic out breaks.