Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 2 May 2020

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. One Nation-One Ration Card scheme.

2. Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

GS Paper 3:

1. Research & Development (R&D) Statistics and Indicators 2019-20 report.

2. China’s central bank digital currency.

3. Global Energy Review 2020.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. GI tag for Kashmir Saffron.

2. KISAN SABHA APP.

3. Thikri pehra.

4. Thrissur Pooram.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

One Nation-One Ration Card scheme

What to study?

For prelims: key features of the proposed scheme, PDS.

For mains: Need for, significance of the scheme and challenges in its implementation.

Context: Five more States join ration card portability.

Bihar, Punjab, UP, Himachal and Daman and Diu have been integrated with the ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme.

About 60 crore beneficiaries from 17 states and UTs can benefit from the ration card portability and they can purchase the subsidised foodgrains using the existing ration cards.

About the scheme:

One Nation One Ration Card (RC) will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.

Benefits: no poor person is deprived of getting subsidised foodgrains under the food security scheme when they shift from one place to another. It also aims to remove the chance of anyone holding more than one ration card to avail benefits from different states.

Significance: This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.

Standard format of ‘one nation, one ration card’:

A standard format for ration card has been prepared after taking into account the format used by different states.

  • For national portability, the state governments have been asked to issue the ration card in bi-lingual format, wherein besides the local language, the other language could be Hindi or English.
  • The states have also been told to have a 10-digit standard ration card number, wherein first two digits will be state code and the next two digits will be running ration card numbers.
  • Besides this, a set of another two digits will be appended with ration card number to create unique member IDs for each member of the household in a ration card.

Challenges:

Prone to corruption: Every state has its own rules for Public Distribution System (PDS). If ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ is implemented, it will further boost corruption in an already corrupted Public Distribution System.

The scheme will increase the woes of the common man and, the middlemen and corrupt PDS shop owners will exploit them.

Tamil Nadu has opposed the proposal of the Centre, saying it would result in undesirable consequences and is against federalism.

 Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is PDS?
  2. What is NFSA? Eligibility? Benefits?
  3. How are fair price shops established?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of One Nation One Ration Card scheme.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics covered: Issues related to health.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES)

What to study?

For prelims and mains: AES- causes, symptoms, effects and prevention, how is it related to Li hi fruits?

Context: Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has fanned fear among the villagers and health officials of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown.

 At least three children have reportedly died of the disease, locally known as chamki bukhar, in 2020.

About AES:

  • Acute encephalitis syndrome is a basket term used for referring to hospitals, children with clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, convulsion, delirium, or coma.
  • Meningitis caused by virus or bacteria, encephalitis (mostly Japanese encephalitis) caused by virus, encephalopathy, cerebral malaria, and scrub typhus caused by bacteria are collectively called acute encephalitis syndrome.
  • The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.

Symptoms:

It is characterized as acute-onset of fever and a change in mental status (mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma) and/or new-onset of seizures in a person of any age at any time of the year.

Cause of the disease:

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is considered a very complex disease as it can be caused by various agents including bacteria, fungi, virus and many other agents.

Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins and noninfectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades.

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%).

Nipah virus, Zika virus are also found as causative agents for AES.

How is it related to litchi fruits? How it affects?

In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs.

Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities. Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds.

 Why it affects undernourished children?

  • Blood glucose falls sharply causing severe brain malfunction (encephalopathy), leading to seizures and coma, and death in many cases.
  • This is because under-nourished children lack sufficient glucose reserve in the form of glycogen and the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate source is blocked midway leading to low blood sugar level.
  • This causes serious brain function derangement and seizures.

Measures needed:

  1. Increase access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.
  2. Improve nutritional status of children at risk of JE/AES.
  3. Preparative measures to be in place before the possible outbreaks.
  4. Vector control.
  5. Better awareness generation among children, parents through Anganwadi workers, ANMs etc.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. AES is caused by?
  2. Diseases caused by virus vs bacteria vs fungi.
  3. What is hypoglycaemia?
  4. What is JE?
  5. How eating litchi fruits aggravate the problem in malnourished children?

Mains Link:

What is Acute encephalitis syndrome? Discuss the causative agents, do you think authorities failed at several levels in preventing deaths due to encephalopathy in Bihar? Suggest what needs to be done?

Sources: down to earth.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Research & Development (R&D) Statistics and Indicators 2019-20 report

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key findings, performance of India and significance of these findings.

 Context: R&D Statistics and Indicators 2019-20 is based on the national S&T survey 2018 brought out by the National Science and Technology Management Information (NSTMIS), Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Background:

The report captures the R&D landscape of the country through various Input-Output S&T Indicators in the form of Tables and graphs. These pertain to Investments in national R&D, R&D investments by Government and Private sector; R&D relationship with economy (GDP), Enrolment of S&T personnel, Manpower engaged in R&D, Outrun of S&T personnel, papers published, patents and their international S&T comparisons.

Key findings:

  1. India’s gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 & 2018 driven mainly by Govt sector and scientific publications have risen placing the country internationally among the top few.
  2. With the rise in publication, the country is globally at the 3rd   position on this score as per the NSF database, 3rd in the number of Ph.D. in science & engineering.
  3. The number of researchers per million population has doubled since 2000. It has increased to 255 in 2017 from 218 in 2015 and 110 in 2000.
  4. Women participation in extramural R&D projects has increased significantly to 24% in 2016-17 from 13% in 2000-01 due to various initiatives undertaken by the Government in S&T sector.
  5. India’s per capita R&D expenditure has increased to PPP $ 47.2 in 2017-18 from PPP $ 29.2 in 2007-08.
  6. India spent 0.7% of its GDP on R&D in 2017-18, while the same among other developing BRICS countries was Brazil 1.3%, Russian Federation 1.1%, China 2.1% and South Africa 0.8%.
  7. India is ranked at 9th position in terms of Resident Patent Filing activity in the world.
  8. According to WIPO, India’s Patent Office stands at the 7th position among the top 10 Patent Filing Offices in the world.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

China’s central bank digital currency

What to study?

For Prelims: What is the currency called? Where is it being introduced?

For Mains: Significance and concerns associated.

Context: China, which seeks to be the first major economy to launch a digital currency, is to trial a digital yuan in four urban areas – including payments of local government employees’ transportation subsidies.

e- RMB:

  1. The digital currency – known as the e-RMB – “will not be issued in large amounts” for public use in the short term, and the digital currency in circulation would “not lead to an inflation surge”.  
  2. Initially it will be tested in three major cities of Shenzhen, Suzhou and Chengdu.
  3. People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, will be the sole issuer of the digital yuan, initially offering the digital money to commercial banks and other operators.
  4. Public would be able to convert money in their bank accounts to the digital version and make deposits via electronic wallets.

Significance and potential of the project:

China’s Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) project – as the country’s progress towards a digital yuan is known – began in 2014.

Central banks around the world are assessing the feasibility of launching their own digital currencies – so-called ‘central bank digital currencies’ (CBDCs).

The interest in CBDCs is being driven by factors including declining cash use and plans for privately owned ‘stablecoins’, such as Facebook’s proposed Libra.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a blockchain?
  2. What are Cryptocurrencies?
  3. Which countries have issued Cryptocurrencies?
  4. What is a Bitcoin?

Sources: Hindustan Times.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

Global Energy Review 2020

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings.

For Mains: Concerns and challenges expressed, ways to address them.

Context: International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its Global Energy Review 2020 report.

Key findings:

  1. Global energy demand is projected to fall six per cent in 2020.
  2. This will be steepest decline in percentage terms in 70 years and the largest ever in absolute terms.
  3. All fuels except renewables are set to experience their greatest contractions in demand for decades.
  4. The projected 6% decline would be more than seven times the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on global energy demand, reversing the growth of global energy demand over the last five years.
  5. According to the report advanced economies will experience the greatest declines in energy demand in 2020.
  6. In India, energy demand would decline for the first time, following on from low demand growth in 2019.
  7. Global oil demand in 2020 is projected to drop by 9 per cent or 9 million barrels per day on an average across the year, returning oil consumption to 2012 levels.
    Global coal demandis projected decline by 8 per cent, in large part because electricity demand will be nearly 5 per cent lower over the course of the year.
  8. Global Electricity Demand has been declined by 20% during periods of full lockdown in several countries. However, the residential demand is outweighed by reductions in commercial and industrial operations.

What next?

According to IEA, if lockdowns are shorter and the global recovery is more rapid, the decline in global energy demand across 2020 could be limited to 3.8 per cent, which is still four times the decline during the global financial crisis.

About IEA:

Established in 1974 as per framework of the OECD, IEA is an autonomous intergovernmental organisation.

MISSION – To ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its  member countries and beyond.

Its mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide

Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.

Roles and functions:

Established in the wake of the 1973-1974 oil crisis, to help its members respond to major oil supply disruptions, a role it continues to fulfill today.

IEA’s mandate has expanded over time to include tracking and analyzing global key energy trends, promoting sound energy policy, and fostering multinational energy technology cooperation.

Composition and eligibility:

It has 30 members at present. IEA family also includes eight association countries.

A candidate country must be a member country of the OECD. But all OECD members are not IEA members.

To become member a candidate country must demonstrate that it has:

  1. Crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply.
  2. A demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%.
  3. Legislation and organisation to operate the Co-ordinated Emergency Response Measures (CERM) on a national basis.
  4. Legislation and measures to ensure that all oil companies under its jurisdiction report information upon request.
  5. Measures in place to ensure the capability of contributing its share of an IEA collective action.

Reports:

  1. Global Energy & CO2 Status Report.
  2. World Energy Outlook.
  3. World Energy Statistics.
  4. World Energy Balances.
  5. Energy Technology Perspectives.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Various reports released by IEA.
  2. Composition of OECD and OPEC? Who can become members?
  3. Top crude oil producers and importers globally?
  4. Who are associate members of IEA?
  5. What kind of IEA member is India?

Mains Link:

Write a note on objectives and functions of the International Energy Agency.

Sources: ET.

 


Facts for Prelims


GI tag for Kashmir Saffron:

The Saffron cultivated in the Kashmir valley has received Geographical Indication Tag.

  • It is long, thick and has natural deep red colour. Also, it has high aroma and is processed without adding any chemicals.
  • The colour of the saffron is unique due to the high quantity of crocin. It has a rich flavour because of safranal and the bitterness is due to the presence of
  • The Kashmir Saffron is the only saffron in the world that is grown at an altitude of 1,600 metres.
  • The saffron available in Kashmir is of three types: Lachha Saffron’, ‘Mongra Saffron’ and ‘Guchhi Saffron’.

KISAN SABHA APP:

Developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), New Delhi to connect farmers to supply chain and freight transportation management system.

The portal acts as a single stop for every entity related to agriculture, be they a farmer who needs better price for the crops or mandi dealer who wants to connect to more farmers or truckers who invariably go empty from the mandis.

What is Thikri pehra?

It is community policing practiced in Punjab and Haryana.

The tradition made a comeback after more than two decades — communities guarded their villages in the aftermath of terrorist movement and when the infamous Kala Kachcha gang gave locals sleepless nights years ago.

Thrissur Pooram:

  • Known as the festival of festivals, Thrissur Pooram has a tradition of more than 200 years.
  • This spectacular event was started by Sakthan Thampuran, the erstwhile ruler of Kochi.
  • Held on the Moolam asterism in the Malayalam month of Medam (April-May), festival related events take place at the Vadakkumnathan temple situated in the heart of Thrissur town and the adjoining Thekkinkadu ground.
  • The pooram festival mainly happens between two groups representing the geographic divisions of Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi. They will compete in their respective presentations of richly caparisoned elephants, traditional orchestra called panchavadyam, the swift and rhythmic changing of brightly coloured and sequined parasols called kudamattom and the dazzling fireworks in the early morning hours are the festival highlights.

Why in News?

For the first time since its inception, Thrissur Pooram will be observed with rituals within the temple premises with just a few participants. This was done in the wake of the lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper