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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 6 May 2020

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Table of Contents:

 GS Paper 2:

1. Sources of revenue for the states.

2. What is the Darbar Move in J&K all about?

3. Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).

4. What is silent hypoxia?

5. UNICEF “Lost at Home” report.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Bishnu Sendra Parva.

2. Arktika-M satellite.

3. Surakshit Dada-Dadi & Nana-Nani Abhiyan.

4. GARUD portal.

5. Operation Samudra Setu.

6. Pulitzer Prize 2020.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Sources of revenue for the states

What to study?

For Prelims: Sources of revenue for states, revenue of excise duties.

For Mains: Significance of these revenues and ways to enhance these sources.

Context: After incurring high losses due to the pandemic, states such as Delhi and Andhra Pradesh are levying 70-75% additional fee on liquor purchases.

Manufacture and sale of liquor are major sources of revenue for states. A ban on alcohol sales was a crucial part of the lockdown, but it deprived states of critical revenue.

How is excise duty levied and collected?

Excise duty is an indirect tax levied by the government on goods manufactured within India, and compares with custom duty, which is levied on imported items.

Excise duty refers to the tax amount included in the final selling price of an item.

As excise duty is a tax on the manufacture of goods, the goods do not have to be sold for the excise duty to be collected.

 Who levies the excise duty on liquor?

The excise duty on liquor is levied by the respective state governments in India.

State excise duty on alcohol is the second or third largest contributor to the own tax revenue of states.

It accounts for 10-15% of the tax receipts for a majority of the states.

Licences to sell alcohol, fines and confiscation of alcoholic products also add to the exchequer of states.

Does alcohol not come within the purview of GST?

Alcohol is not within the purview of the goods and services tax (GST). Exempting alcohol from GST was a key request put forth by state governments when the tax reform was being implemented across the country.

Other major items that are beyond the ambit of GST are land, electricity and petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and aviation turbine fuel.

What is their income from excise on liquor?

The 29 states and Union territories collected a total of ₹1.76 trillion through excise duty on liquor in 2019-20. This is 16.5% higher than the collection in 2018-19.

The average monthly collection in 2019-20 was ₹15,000 crore, says the Reserve Bank of India; the pre-coronavirus projection for 2020-21 was even higher.

earned_excise

What are the other sources of revenue for the states?

The states’ revenues comprise broadly two categories — Tax Revenue and Non-Tax Revenue.

  1. Tax revenue:

It is divided into two further categories: State’s Own Tax Revenue, and Share in Central Taxes.

Again, Own Tax Revenue comprises three principal sources:

  1. Taxes on Income (taxes on professions, trades, callings and employment).
  2. Taxes on Property and Capital Transactions (land revenue, stamps and registration fees, urban immovable property tax).
  • Taxes on Commodities and Services (sales tax, state sales tax/VAT, central sales tax, surcharge on sales tax, receipts of turnover tax, other receipts, state excise).
  1. Non tax revenues:

Collected by the governments for providing/facilitating any goods and service.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Sources of revenues for states.
  2. Constitutional provisions for sharing of revenues.
  3. Article 280.
  4. Difference between tax and non tax revenues.
  5. What is excise duty?

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

What is the Darbar Move in J&K all about?

What to study?

For Prelims: The practice, who started it and what is it all about?

For Mains: Criticism and the need for reconsideration.

Context: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked the Centre and the Union Territory (UT) administration to take a final call on the continuation of Darbar move- the 148-year-old practice of shifting capitals annually between Srinagar and Jammu.

What is it?

Darbar Move is a century-old practice in which the government functions for six months each in the two capitals of the State, Srinagar and Jammu. 

  • The practice was reportedly started in the late 19th century by Ranbir Singh, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, who used to shift his capital between Srinagar in the summer and Jammu in the winter to escape extreme weather conditions in these places. 
  • The government will function in Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, till late October and then move to Jammu, the winter capital, in the first week of November.
  • Hundreds of trucks are usually plied to carry furniture, office files, computers, and other records to the capital.
  • Regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir advocated the continuation of the practice “to help in the emotional integration between two diverse linguistic and cultural regions of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Criticisms surrounding:

  • The ‘Darbar Move’ results in wastage of tremendous amount of time, efforts and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity.
  • It is taxing for security forces too. It nurtures inefficiency and leads to lack of governance.
  • The same negatively impacts justice dispensation and impedes judicial administration.
  • It also causes delay in justice dispensation as government records are not available to the pleaders in one region for six months at a time.
  • Valuable documents and resources of the Union Territory in the nature of important and sensitive government documents are put to tremendous risk in the process of their transportation as they are packed in trunks and carried in hired trucks over a distance of 300 km between Jammu and Srinagar and vice-versa twice a year.

What the High Court says?

  • The High Court observed that if this practice was rationalised, the amount of money, resources and time which could be saved, could be utilised towards the welfare and development of the Union Territory, which has otherwise witnessed much turmoil.
  • It could be utilised for protection and propagation of culture and heritage of the communities. It could also be used for facilitating expenditure on the COVID-19 related issues.
  • The court also remarked that given the modern weather control mechanisms, the consideration of extremities of weather, which was the case, reason and basis for the Darbar Move, does not hold weight today.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Important mountain ranges and passes in J&K.
  2. Roads and tunnels connecting Jammu and Srinagar.
  3. How historically Jammu has been administered?
  4. Why was it given special provisions in the constitution?

two_cities

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

What to study?

For Prelims: Features of PMBJP and Janaushadhi Suvidha.

For Mains: Health facilities for the underprivileged- need and efforts by the government, generic medicines and their increasing popularity worldwide.

Context: Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJKs) are accepting orders on WhatsApp and e-mail to facilitate medicine procurement during lockdown.

Under this initiative, the accepted orders are delivered at the patients’ doorsteps.

About PMBJP:

‘Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’ is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. Of India, to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses through special kendra’s known as Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra.

Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP. BPPI (Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings of India) has been established under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Govt. of India, with the support of all the CPSUs.

SALIENT FEATURES OF THE SCHEME:

  1. Ensure access to quality medicines.
  2. Extend coverage of quality generic medicines so as to reduce the out of pocket expenditure on medicines and thereby redefine the unit cost of treatment per person.
  3. Create awareness about generic medicines through education and publicity so that quality is not synonymous with only high price.
  4. A public programme involving Government, PSUs, Private Sector, NGO, Societies, Co-operative Bodies and other Institutions.
  5. Create demand for generic medicines by improving access to better healthcare through low treatment cost and easy availability wherever needed in all therapeutic categories.

What is a generic medicine?

There is no definition of generic or branded medicines under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules, 1945 made thereunder. However, generic medicines are generally those which contain same amount of same active ingredient(s) in same dosage form and are intended to be administered by the same route of administration as that of branded medicine.

The price of an unbranded generic version of a medicine is generally lower than the price of a corresponding branded medicine because in case of generic version, the pharmaceutical company does not have to spend money on promotion of its brand.

How are they regulated in India?

Drugs manufactured in the country, irrespective of whether they are generic or branded, are required to comply with the same standards as prescribed in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules, 1945 made thereunder for their quality.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Regulation of generic medicines.
  2. What are Jan Aushadi Kendras?
  3. About BPPI.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is silent hypoxia?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Hypoxia vs Silent hypoxia, causes, impact in COVID- 19 patients.

Context: Many Covid-19 patients have reported a condition called ‘silent’ or ‘happy’ hypoxia, in which patients have extremely low blood oxygen levels, yet do not show signs of breathlessness.

Many are now advocating for its early detection as a means to avoid a fatal illness called Covid pneumonia.

 What is hypoxia?

Hypoxia is a condition wherein there is not enough oxygen available to the blood and body tissues.

Hypoxia can either be generalised, affecting the whole body, or local, affecting a region of the body.

Normal arterial oxygen is approximately 75 to 100 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg), and normal pulse oximeter readings usually range from 95 to 100 per cent. Values under 90 per cent are considered low.

 What is silent hypoxia?

It is a form of oxygen deprivation that is harder to detect than regular hypoxia. Patients appear to be less in distress.

In many cases, Covid-19 patients with silent hypoxia did not exhibit symptoms such as shortness of breath or coughing until their oxygen fell to acutely low levels, at which point there was a risk of acute respiratory distress (ARDS) and organ failure.

What explains this phenomenon?

The reason why people are left feeling breathless is not because of the fall in oxygen levels itself, but due to the rise in carbon dioxide levels that occur at the same time, when lungs are not able to expel this gas efficiently. This response does not appear to be kicking in in some Covid-19 patients

This happens because in patients with Covid pneumonia, the virus causes air sacs to fall, leading to a reduction in levels of oxygen. However, the lungs initially do not become stiff or heavy with fluid, and remain “compliant” — being able to expel carbon dioxide and avoiding its buildup. Thus, patients do

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered:  Important international institutions.

UNICEF “Lost at Home” report

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings and India’s scenario.

For Mains: Concerns expressed by the report and ways to address them.

Context: UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has published a report named UN the “Lost at Home” report.

Key findings:

  1. Almost 33 million new displacements were recorded in 2019 — around 25 million were due to natural disasters and 8.5 million as consequence of conflict and violence.
  2. There were 12 million new displacements of children in 2019: around 3.8 million of them caused by conflict and violence, and 8.2 million, due to disasters linked mostly to weather-related events.
  3. Natural disasters resulted in more new displacements than conflict and violence. Almost 10 million new displacements in 2019 were recorded in East Asia and the Pacific (39 %) — and almost the same number in South Asia (9.5 million).
  4. Coronavirus intensifying suffering: Camps or informal settlements are often overcrowded, and lack adequate hygiene and health services. Physical distancing is often not possible, creating conditions that are highly conducive to the spread of disease.
  5. Risks internally displaced children face include child labour, child marriage, trafficking.
  6. The largest number of internally displaced children due to conflict are found in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and sub-Saharan Africa. Internally displaced persons are concentrated in two regions — the Middle East and North Africa and West and Central Africa.

India and neighbours:

  • More than five million people were internally displaced in India due to natural disasters, conflict and violence in 2019, constituting the highest number of new internal displacements in the world during the period followed by the Philippines, Bangladesh and China.
  • India, the Philippines, Bangladesh and China accounted for 69% of global disaster-induced displacements.
  • These were overwhelmingly caused by extreme conditions created by dangerous storms and floods.

What needs to be done to protect the children?

  • Governments and humanitarian partners should work together to keep them safe, healthy, learning and protected.
  • Strategic investments are needed to address the child-specific drivers of displacement, in particular, violence, exploitation and abuse.
  • Better, timely and accessible data — disaggregated by age and gender — is also critical to delivering on this agenda. Internally displaced children and youth themselves must have a seat at the table.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. UNICEF- composition, functions and report.
  2. Country with highest internal displacement of children.
  3. Scenario in India’s neighbours.

Mains Link:

Write a note on key findings of the “Lost at Home” report.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Bishnu Sendra Parva:

It is an annual hunting festival observed by tribals of Jharkhand and the neighbouring Odisha and West Bengal. This year, for the first time in living memory, not a single animal was killed in event because of a complete lockdown across the state.

Arktika-M satellite:

Russia will be launching its first Arktika-M satellite to monitor the Arctic climate and environment later this year.

Russia`s Arktika-M remote-sensing and emergency communications satellites will gather meteorological data in the polar regions of the Earth, which will allow to improve weather forecasts and will enable scientists to better study climate change.

Surakshit Dada-Dadi & Nana-Nani Abhiyan:

  • Launched by Niti Aayog in association with Piramal Foundation.
  • Focussed on ensuring wellbeing of senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The campaign will reach over 2.9 million senior citizens in 25 Aspirational Districts across Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan & UP.
  • It focuses on behaviour change, access to services, early detection & tracking of COVID19 symptoms.

GARUD portal:

  • DGCA launches ‘GARUD’ portal to fast-track exemptions of coronavirus-related drone operations.
  • GARUD- Government Authorisation for Relief Using Drones.
  • The portal will help state-owned entities in seeking exemption from central government for coronavirus related drone operations.
  • This will also help in addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19 and will remain in force until further orders.

Operation Samudra Setu:

  • Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu – meaning Sea Bridge, as a part of national effort to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
  • Indian Naval Ships Jalashwa and Magar are presently enroute to Malè in Maldives to commence evacuation operations as part of Phase-1.
  • A total of one thousand persons are planned to be evacuated during the first trip.

Pulitzer Prize 2020:

Three photojournalists from Jammu & Kashmir have won Pulitzer Prize 2020 in feature photography.

These include Yasin Dar, Mukhtar Khan, and Channi Anand.

About the Prize:

  • Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917 and has been awarded for the achievements in magazine, newspaper, online journalism, musical composition, and literature.
  • The award was established by the provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, he made his fortune as a newspaper publisher.
  • The award is administered by Columbia University.
  • Pulitzer prize is awarded yearly in 21 categories. Each winner receives a cash award and a certificate. A gold medal is awarded to the winner in Public Service Category.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper