Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. What is order books, inventories and capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS)?
2. Various pandemics and how have they influenced the course of human history?
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.
What to study?
For Prelims: PMU- key features.
For Mains: PMUY- objectives, features, significance and measures needed to sustain the momentum.
Context: Over 1.51 Crore free LPG cylinders distributed so far to the PMUY beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) in this month.
Under the PMGKY, several relief measures have been announced by the central Government for the welfare of poor, and one of the important component of the Yojana is to provide 3 LPG cylinders (14.2 kg) free to over 8 crore beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana(PMUY) over the period of April to June 2020. The Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are distributing 50 to 60 lakh cylinders per day, which includes about 18 lakh free cylinders to PMUY beneficiaries.
Key features of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:
Aim: To provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.
Goal: A deposit-free LPG connection is given to eligible with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.
- Applicant must a woman above the age of 18 and a citizen of India.
- Applicant should belong to a BPL (Below Poverty Line) household.
- No one in the applicant’s household should own an LPG connection.
- The household income of the family, per month, must not exceed a certain limit as defined by the government of the Union Territories and State Government.
- The name of the applicant must be in the list of SECC-2011 data and should match with the information available in the BPL database that Oil Marketing Companies have.
- Applicant must not be a recipient of other similar schemes provided by the government.
Objectives of the scheme are:
- Empowering women and protecting their health.
- Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
- Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
- Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.
- Which ministry implements PMUY?
- When was it launched?
- Eligibility for PMUY?
- Incentives for Oil marketing companies?
- Is there any financial assistance available under the scheme?
Discuss the key features and significance of PMUY.
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Causes for the syndrome, effects and treatment.
Context: After leaving the ICU, many patients may suffer from what is known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS), which can happen to any person who has been in the ICU.
What is the concern now?
As per the WHO-China Joint Mission report that examined 55,924 laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19, over 6.1 per cent were classified as critical, which means they experienced respiratory failure, shock and multiple organ failure. Many critical cases need ICU admissions.
Therefore, for some Covid-19 patients who needed intensive care, the journey to recovery is a long one.
What is post-intensive care syndrome?
PICS is defined as new or worsening impairment in physical (ICU-acquired neuromuscular weakness), cognitive (thinking and judgment), or mental health status arising after critical illness and persisting beyond discharge from the acute care setting.
- Such patients may experience neuromuscular weakness, which can manifest itself in the form of poor mobility and recurrent falls.
- Psychological disability may arise in a person in the form of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What are the symptoms?
The most common PICS symptoms are generalised weakness, fatigue, decreased mobility, anxious or depressed mood, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances and cognitive issues. These symptoms may last for a few months or many years after recovery.
What causes PICS?
A combination of factors can affect aspects of an ICU survivor’s life.
- PICS may be induced if a person was on prolonged mechanical ventilation, experienced sepsis, multiple organ failure and a prolonged duration of “bed-restore deep sedation”.
- 33 per cent of the people on ventilators may develop ICU-acquired muscle weakness (ICUAW). Along with this, 50 per cent of those who develop sepsis and up to 50 per cent of the patients who stay in the ICU for at least one week are also prone to ICUAW.
- After leaving the ICU, over 30-80 per cent may develop problems related to cognitive function and other mental health issues, including difficulty in falling and staying asleep.
How to prevent?
- It is recommended that to avoid PICS, patients’ use of deep sedation is limited and early mobility is encouraged, along with giving them “aggressive” physical and occupational therapy.
- Further, patients should be given the lowest dose of pain medications when possible, and should be put on lung or cardiovascular rehabilitation treatments along with treatments for depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
What to study?
For Prelims: IMFC and Development committee.
For Mains: IMF and World Bank Group reforms.
Context: Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman recently attended through video-conference the Plenary Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee.
- The discussions at the meeting were based on IMF Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda titled, “Exceptional Times – Exceptional Action”.
- The members of the IMFC updated the committee on the actions and measures taken by member countries to combat COVID-19, and also remarked on IMF’s crisis-response package to address global liquidity and members’ financing needs.
Composition: The IMFC has 24 members, drawn from the pool of 187 governors. Its structure mirrors that of the Executive Board and its 24 constituencies. As such, the IMFC represents all the member countries of the Fund.
Functions: The IMFC meets twice a year, during the Spring and Annual Meetings. The Committee discusses matters of common concern affecting the global economy and also advises the IMF on the direction its work.
At the end of the Meetings, the Committee issues a joint communiqué summarizing its views. These communiqués provide guidance for the IMF’s work program during the six months leading up to the next Spring or Annual Meetings. There is no formal voting at the IMFC, which operates by consensus.
- The IMFC advises and reports to the IMF Board of Governors on the supervision and management of the international monetary and financial system, including on responses to unfolding events that may disrupt the system.
- It also considers proposals by the Executive Board to amend the Articles of Agreement and advises on any other matters that may be referred to it by the Board of Governors.
- Although the IMFC has no formal decision-making powers, in practice, it has become a key instrument for providing strategic direction to the work and policies of the Fund.
- IMFC vs Development Committee- functions and composition.
- Members and governance of IMF.
- Various reports by IMF.
- Funding mechanisms under IMF.
Critically analyse the role, potential and performance of IMF in the present times.
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 and Mains: STPI- features, objectives and significance.
Context: In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has decided to provide rental waiver to IT companies housed in STPI premises in the country from March to June, i.e., for 4 months period as of now.
About Software Technology Parks of India (STPI):
It is an autonomous society under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Govt. of India.
It was established in 1991 with the objective of encouraging, promoting and boosting the export of software from India.
The STPI’s Governing Council’s Chairperson is the Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology.
The objectives of the Software Technology Parks of India are:
- To promote the development and export of software and software services including Information Technology (IT) enabled services/ Bio- IT.
- To provide statutory and other promotional services to the exporters by implementing Software Technology Parks (STP)/ Electronics and Hardware Technology Parks (EHTP) Schemes, SEZ scheme and other such schemes which may be formulated and entrusted by the Government from time to time.
- To provide data communication services including value added services to IT / IT enabled Services (ITES) related industries.
- To promote micro, small and medium entrepreneurs by creating conducive environment for entrepreneurship in the field of IT/ITES.
- To establish and manage infrastructure resources such as Datacom facilities, Project Management and Consultancy and IT support facilities.
Topics Covered: Biotechnology related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: RT- LAMP- meaning, procedure, pros and cons.
For Mains: Significance of these testing kits for India.
What is it?
It is a diagnostic test kit that can confirm COVID19 in 2 hours at low cost.
It has been developed by Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, an Institute of National Importance, of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
How it works?
The confirmatory diagnostic test detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP).
The test kit is highly specific for SARS-CoV-2 N-gene and can detect two regions of the gene, which will ensure that the test does not fail even if one region of the viral gene undergoes mutation during its current spread.
- The trial tests performed show that Chitra GeneLAMP- N has 100% accuracy and match with test results using RT-PCR.
- The detection time is 10 minutes, and the sample to result time (from RNA extraction in swab to RT-LAMP detection time) will be less than 2 hours.
- A total of 30 samples can be tested in a single batch in a single machine allowing a large number of samples to be tested each day.
What is Reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP)?
It is a technique for the amplification of RNA. It is used in the detection of viruses.
In this method, a DNA copy of the viral RNA is generated by reverse transcriptase, and then isothermal amplification is carried out to increase the amount of total DNA.
- DNA vs RNA.
- RT- LAMP vs RT- PCR.
- What is reverse transcription?
- What is Rapid antibody test?
Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.
What to study?
For Prelims: Per capital availability of water in India, past trends and overview of jal Jeevan mission.
For Mains: Water scarcity in India, causes , impacts and ways to address them.
Why in News?
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued an advisory to state governments asking them to ensure safe drinking water supply and management during the nationwide lockdown that has been extended to May 3.
States have also been asked to send field test kits to villages to conduct periodic testing of water resources, and ensure round the clock vigils to ensure supply.
Frequent washing of hands with frothing soaps is recognized as the most efficient and effective measure in the listed preventive measures for controlling the spread of the virus.
Why ensuring uninterrupted water supply would be a challenge for many states in India?
Lack of access to clean water itself is an ongoing challenge that the country has been facing for several years.
The average annual per capita water availability fell from 1820 cubic meters assessed in 2001 to to 1545 cubic meters in 2011, and could reduce further to 1341 and 1140 in the years 2025 and 2050 respectively.
Due to high temporal and spatial variation of precipitation, the water availability of many region of the country is much below the national average and can be considered as water stressed/water scarce.
In a 2018 report, the water and sanitation advocacy group WaterAid ranked India at the top of 10 countries with lowest access to clean water close to home, with 16.3 crore people not having such access.
What are water stressed and water scarce conditions?
- Annual per-capita water availability of less than 1700 cubic meters is considered as water stressed condition.
- Annual per- capita water availability below 1000 cubic meters is considered as a water scarcity condition.
What are the challenges?
- Falling groundwater levels and frequent droughts.
- Increased demand from agriculture and industry.
- Pollution and poor water resource management.
- Challenges that will intensify as climate change contributes to more extreme weather shocks.
- As most of the rivers in the country are inter-State, the regulation and development of waters of these rivers, is a source of inter-State differences and disputes.
Water in the Constitution:
Under Article 246, the Indian Constitution allocates responsibilities of the States and the Centre into three lists– Union List, State List, and Concurrent List.
Water is under Entry 17 of the State List, which reads: “Water, that is to say, water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments, water storage and water power subject to the provisions of entry 56 of List I.”
Steps need to be taken to ensure a more useful and productive discourse about water governance challenges:
- Reconsider the institutional processes for dissemination of knowledge about water resource management.
- Ensure an adequate access to quality water, more so in urban areas where inequities over space and time are acute.
- The urban needs, which underpin much reporting on ‘water crises’, need to be met by robust long-term planning and preparation for droughts and other contingencies.
- Cities need to stop the destruction of local water bodies and local tree cover, treat its sewage properly, harvest rainwater, and stop straightening and concretizing the rivers and encroaching on their floodplain.
- There is an urgent need for coordination among users for aquifers. There should be laws and contracts for sharing of aquifers.
- There should be a River Basin Authority for sharing information among states as most of the rivers in India pass through different states focusing on conservation.
- Charging money for efficient use of water (as in case of electricity). For example- Water ATMS at Marathwada provide water @25 paisa per litre a day.
- Changing the cropping pattern, crop diversification and encouraging water use efficiency in agriculture by moving towards food crops from cash crops.
- Coordinated efforts among states for management of ground water at a localized level.
- Encouraging rain water harvesting, check dams.
Sources: Indian Express.
Facts for Prelims
What is order books, inventories and capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS)?
- Context: The Reserve Bank of India has launched latest round of quarterly order books, inventories and capacity utilisation survey (OBICUS) of manufacturing sector. The survey provides valuable input for monetary policy formulation.
- The RBI has been conducting the OBICUS of the manufacturing sector on a quarterly basis since 2008.
- The information collected in the survey includes quantitative data on new orders received during the reference quarter, backlog of orders, pending orders, total inventories with a breakup between work-in-progress (WiP) and finished goods (FG) inventories and item-wise production.
Various pandemics and how have they influenced the course of human history?
Justinian Plague: Broke out in the sixth century in Egypt and spread fast to Constantinople, which was the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. The plague was named after the then Byzantine Emperor Justinian. The outbreak had killed up to 25 to 100 million people.
Black Death: The Black Death, or pestilence, hit Europe and Asia in the 14th century. It killed some 75 to 200 million people. Black Death led to improved wages for serfs and agricultural labourers. Land became more abundant relative to labour. It also led to the weakening of the Catholic Church.
Spanish Flu: Broke out during the last phase of the First World War. Germans and Austrians were affected so badly that the outbreak derailed their offensives.
Insights Current Affairs Analysis (I–CAN) by IAS Topper