Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Festivals being celebrated in several parts of country.
2. Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
GS Paper : 2
Topics covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
What to study?
For Prelims: AIM, ATL and their important features, what is CollabCAD?
For Mains: Various initiatives to promote innovation and their significance.
Context: Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog & National Informatics Centre (NIC) jointly launched CollabCAD in ATL schools.
What is CollabCAD?
- It is a collaborative network, computer enabled software system, providing a total engineering solution from 2D drafting & detailing to 3D product design.
- The aim of this initiative is to provide a great platform to students of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) across country to create and modify 3d designs with free flow of creativity and imagination.
- This software would also enable students to create data across the network and concurrently access the same design data for storage and visualization.
Tinker from Home campaign:
- In light of the current situation, the ATL program has launched a ‘Tinker from Home’ campaign to ensure that the children across the county have access to useful easy-to-learn online resources to keep themselves fruitfully occupied.
- The objective of the initiative is to harness the creativity and innovativeness of children by encouraging learning through self-initiation.
What are ATLs?
With a vision to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’, Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India.
Objective: The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.
Financial Support: AIM will provide grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.
- Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society can set up ATL.
- The applicant school would have to provide at least 1,500 Sq. Ft. of built up space. Applicant schools from hilly / Himalayan and island states, UTs would have to provide atleast 1,000 Sq. Ft. of built up space.
- Who can setup ATLs?
- What is the financial support given for setting up of ATLs?
- Aim and objectives of Tinker from Home campaign?
- What is NIC?
- Who heads NITI Aayog?
Discuss the objectives and significance of Atal Tinkering Labs.
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Chagan disease- causes, symptoms and treatment.
Context: On April 14, 2020, World Chagas Disease Day is being observed for the first time. The day is observed to spread awareness about this “silent and silenced disease”. The 72nd World Health Assembly approved the designation of Chagas Disease Day on May 24, 2019.
Why it is called the “silent and silenced disease”?
The Chagas disease is called silent because it progresses slowly, and silenced because it mainly affects the poor people who often lack political voice and proper health care.
About the disease:
The disease got its name from Dr Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, who diagnosed the first patient with the disease in Brazil on April 14, 1909.
It is classified as a neglected tropical disease (NTD), meaning it affects the low-income populations in developing countries across the globe.
Also called the American trypanosomiasis, this vector-borne disease hits the most poverty-stricken communities, especially in Latin America.
How is it transmitted?
- A parasitic protozoan called Trypanosoma cruzi that causes this vector-borne disease is usually transmitted by faeces and urine of triatomine bugs or kissing bugs, which belongs to the family of assassin bugs.
- The disease can also be transmitted by contaminated food, organ transplantations, blood or blood products transfusion, and infected mothers to newborn.
- Lack of awareness and neglecting the symptoms, especially among poor households, results in much severe symptoms and even death.
The symptoms of the disease come in two phases:
Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache, difficulty in breathing, abdominal or chest pain and enlarged lymph glands.
- What are neglected tropical diseases?
- Difference between Protozoa, bacteria and viruses?
- Why this disease is called the “silent and silenced disease”?
- What is World Health Assembly?
Write a note on Neglected Tropical Diseases.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
What to study?
For Prelims: What are CSCs and who are BCs, BCs- objectives, eligibility and functions.
For Mains: Significance and measures for financial inclusion.
Context: SHG women working as Business Correspondents for banks (BC Sakhis) and Bank Sakhis playing a vital role in disbursement of first tranch of ex-gratia of Rs.500/- to women PMJDY accounts amidst COVID-19 Lockdown.
Who are Business Correspondents?
Business Correspondents are retail agents engaged by banks for providing banking services at locations other than a bank branch/ATM.
Banks are required to take full responsibility for the acts of omission and commission of the BCs that they engage and have, therefore, to ensure thorough due diligence and additional safeguards for minimizing the agency risk.
What they can do?
- BCs are permitted to perform a variety of activities which include identification of borrowers, collection and preliminary processing of loan applications including verification of primary information/data, creating awareness about savings and other products, education and advice on managing money and debt counseling, processing and submission of applications to banks, promoting, nurturing and monitoring of Self Help Groups/ Joint Liability Groups, post-sanction monitoring, follow-up of recovery.
- They can also attend to collection of small value deposit, disbursal of small value credit, recovery of principal / collection of interest, sale of micro insurance/ mutual fund products/ pension products/ other third party products and receipt and delivery of small value remittances/ other payment instruments.
Who can be engaged as BCs?- The banks may engage the following individuals/entities as BC:
- Individuals like retired bank employees, retired teachers, retired government employees and ex-servicemen, individual owners of kirana / medical /Fair Price shops, individual Public Call Office (PCO) operators, agents of Small Savings schemes of Government of India/Insurance Companies, individuals who own Petrol Pumps, authorized functionaries of well run Self Help Groups (SHGs) which are linked to banks, any other individual including those operating Common Service Centres (CSCs).
- NGOs/ MFIs set up under Societies/ Trust Acts and Section 25 Companies.
- Cooperative Societies registered under Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies Acts/ Cooperative Societies Acts of States/Multi State Cooperative Societies Act.
- Post Offices.
- Companies registered under the Indian Companies Act, 1956 with large and widespread retail outlets, excluding Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).
- Who can be engaged as BCs?
- What are CSCs?
- Eligibility for PMJDY.
- Benefits under PMJDY.
Who are Business Correspondents? Discuss their significance and role in enhancing financial inclusion in the country.
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of the SGB scheme.
For Mains: The scheme and its significance for India.
Context: Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India, has decided to issue Sovereign Gold Bonds.
About the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme:
- The sovereign gold bond was introduced by the Government in 2015.
- Government introduced these bonds to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports.
- The move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.
Eligibility: The bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities, including individuals, HUFs, trusts, universities and charitable institutions.
Denomination and tenor: The bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram. The tenor will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from the 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
Minimum and Maximum limit: The minimum permissible investment limit will be 1 gram of gold, while the maximum limit will be 4 kg for individual, 4 kg for HUF and 20 kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the government from time to time.
Joint Holder: In case of joint holding, the investment limit of 4 kg will be applied to the first applicant only.
Collateral: Bonds can be used as collateral for loans. The loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is to be set equal to ordinary gold loan mandated by the Reserve Bank from time to time.
- Eligibility for scheme?
- Can they be used as collateral?
- What is the minimum and maximum permissible limit?
- Who can issue these bonds?
Discuss the key features and significance of Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme.
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues related.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: What is Helicopter money, features, need for and significance? How is it different from quantitative easing?
Context: Amid rising concerns over economic crisis that has been triggered by the COVID-19 lockdown; Helicopter Money is one concept that is being considered by authorities’ world over.
In fact, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has suggested RBI to adopt the concept of Helicopter Money to help state governments tide over the current crisis and kickstart economic activity in India.
What is helicopter money?
This is an unconventional monetary policy tool aimed at bringing a flagging economy back on track. It involves printing large sums of money and distributing it to the public. American economist Milton Friedman coined this term.
Why it is called so?
It basically denotes a helicopter dropping money from the sky. Friedman used the term to signify “unexpectedly dumping money onto a struggling economy with the intention to shock it out of a deep slump.” Under such a policy, a central bank “directly increase the money supply and, via the government, distribute the new cash to the population with the aim of boosting demand and inflation.”
Why is helicopter money in news now?
With the coronavirus-hit economy falling deeper and deeper into a chasm with each passing day, Telangana chief minister KC Rao has said helicopter money can help states comes out of this morass. He asked for the release of 5% funds from GDP by way of quantitative easing (QE).
Is helicopter money the same as quantitative easing?
Quantitative easing also involves the use of printed money by central banks to buy government bonds. But not everyone views the money used in QE as helicopter money. It sure means printing money to monetise government deficits, but the govt has to pay back for the assets that the central bank buys. It’s not the same as bond-buying by central banks “in which bank-owned assets are swapped for new central bank reserves.”
How will Helicopter Money help Indian Economy?
- Simply put, Helicopter Money means extension of non-repayable money transfer from the central bank to the state and central governments, to infuse liquidity in the system.
- The policy aims at putting more money into the pockets of people to nudge them to spend more money and in turn pick-up economic activity in the country.
- The direct impact of Helicopter Money is rise in disposable incomes of the people, increase in money supply with an intention to boost demand and inflation in the economy.
Facts for Prelims
Different festivals being celebrated in several parts of country- April 13 and 14:
- Vaisakhi– Spring harvest festival celebrated by Hindus ans Sikhs. The day marks the formation of Khalsa Panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh. It is celebrated as the first day of the month of Vaisakha according to Hindu calendar.
- Vishu– It is a Malayali festival celebrated in the South Indian state of Kerala, Tulu Nadu region in Karnataka, bordering areas of Tamil Nadu and their diaspora communities. The festival marks the first day of Medam, the ninth month in the solar calendar followed in Kerala.
- Rongali Bihu- Celebrated in Assam. It marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year.
- Naba Barsha- Bengali New Year according to the Gregorian Calendar.
- Puthandu – Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated on the first day of the Tamil month – Chithirai – and marks the beginning of the Tamil New Year.
Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF):
- The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) was established in 2000 under an agreement between the Governments of India and United States of America.
- It has a mandate to promote, catalyze and seed bilateral collaboration in science, technology, engineering and biomedical research through substantive interaction amongst government, academia and industry.
- As an autonomous, not-for-profit society, IUSSTF has the ability, agility and flexibility to engage and involve industry, private R&D labs; and non governmental entities in its evolving activity manifold.
- This operational uniqueness allows the IUSSTF to receive grants and contributions from independent sources both in India and USA, besides the assured core funding from the two governments.
- IUSSTF currently implements a portfolio of “four” broad program verticals – Scientific Networks, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Research and Development and Visitation Programs.
Note: Some articles of today’s current affairs will be covered tomorrow.
Insights Current Affairs Analysis (I–CAN) by IAS Topper