Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Quinine Nongladew.
2. Non Convertible Debentures.
3. International Press Institute (IPI).
4. What is a rights issue?
5. Cyclone Amphan.
7. GOAL (Going Online As Leaders)” programme.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Definition, concerns and ways to address them.
Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that like HIV, the novel coronavirus could become endemic and “may never go away”, and urged for a “massive effort” to contain the spread of COVID-19.
What is an endemic disease?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a disease is endemic when its presence or usual prevalence in the population is constant.
In simple terms, an endemic disease is “the constant presence of a disease or infectious agent within a given geographic area or population group; may also refer to the usual prevalence of a given disease within such an area or group.”
Some examples of endemics include the chicken pox and malaria, where there are predictable number of cases every year in certain parts of the world.
What happens when a disease becomes endemic?
When epidemics become endemic, they become “increasingly tolerated” and the responsibility of protecting against it shifts from the government to the individual.
Further, the sociopolitical response to the disease may also change, with investment in the disease becoming institutionalised along with the disease-inducing behavioural changes in people.
Once people become aware of the risks of infection, they will alter their behaviour and mitigate the consequences.
Need for concern:
Epidemic diseases typically have higher mortality and morbidity than endemic diseases, owing to lack of clinical experience and knowledge, as well as innate pathogenicity. Over time, effective prevention and treatment interventions emerge.
When does a disease become endemic?
One mathematical modelling published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health states that if R0, which is the rate at which the virus is transmitted is equal to 1, then the disease is endemic.
When R0>1, it implies that the cases are increasing and that the disease will eventually become an epidemic.
If R0<1, it implies the number of cases of the disease are decreasing.
Here, R0 refers to the number of people infected by a person who has the disease.
- Difference between epidemic, endemic and pandemic.
- Examples of endemic diseases.
- WHO- composition, functions and funding.
- What is R0?
When does a disease become endemic? How endemic diseases can be handled? Discuss.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Key features and significance of the scheme.
Context: To give a boost to domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing, the government has approved the launch of Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) with an outlay of Rs 400 crore for creating state of the art testing infrastructure for this sector.
- It envisages to setup six to eight new test facilities in partnership with private industry. This will facilitate indigenous defence production, consequently reduce imports of military equipment and help make the country self-reliant.
- The projects under the Scheme will be provided with up to 75% government funding in the form of ‘Grant-in-Aid’.
- The remaining 25% of the project cost will have to be borne by the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) whose constituents will be Indian private entities and State Governments. The SPVs under the Scheme will be registered under Companies Act 2013 and shall also operate and maintain all assets under the Scheme, in a self-sustainable manner by collecting user charges.
- While majority of test facilities are expected to come up in the two Defence Industrial Corridors (DICs), the Scheme is not limited to setting up Test Facilities in the DICs only.
- What are defence corridors? Where are they set up in India?
- What is a SPV?
- What is Grant-in- aid?
- Defence acquisition council- composition, objectives and functions.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims: About WB group.
For Mains: Significance and the need for this funding.
Context: World Bank has approved 1 billion USD aid to India to accelerate “India’s COVID-19 Special Protection Response Programme”.
Of the 1 billion USD aid, around 550 million USD is to be credited by the IDA (International Development Association) and 220 million USD by the IBRD (International Bank of Reconstruction and Development). The final maturity amount of the loan is 18.5 years. It also includes a grace period of five years.
Established in 1960, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.
IDA complements the World Bank’s original lending arm—the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
IBRD and IDA share the same staff and headquarters and evaluate projects with the same rigorous standards.
IDA lends money on concessional terms. This means that IDA charges little or no interest and repayments are stretched over 25 to 40 years, including a 5- to 10-year grace period. IDA also provides grants to countries at risk of debt distress.
How IDA funds are allocated?
To be eligible for funds, countries must first meet the following criteria:
- Relative poverty defined as GNI per capita must be below an established threshold (updated annually). In fiscal year 2020, this was $1,175.
- Lack of creditworthiness to borrow on market terms and therefore have a need for concessional resources to finance the country’s development program.
Countries are then assessed to determine how well they implement policies that promote economic growth and poverty reduction. This is done through the Country Policy and Institutional Assessment. This assessment and portfolio performance together constitute the IDA Country Performance Rating.
- Institutions under World Bank group.
- Difference between IDA and IBRD.
- Types of loans by IDA.
- Headquarters of these institutions.
Discuss how funds from international institutions are helping India tackle COVID 19 pandemic.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of measures announced as part of Self Reliant India mission, other measures announced during the lockdown period.
For Mains: Need for and significance of these measures.
Context: Third tranche of the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic stimulus package announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
These measures are part of a Special economic and comprehensive package of Rs 20 lakh crore – equivalent to 10% of India’s GDP announced by PM on 12th May 2020.
The 3rd Tranche includes measures to strengthen Infrastructure Logistics, Capacity Building, Governance and Administrative Reforms for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Processing Sectors.
Key measures announced:
Measures for improving agricultural infrastructure:
- Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers.
- Rs 10,000 crore scheme for Formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE).
- Rs 20,000 crore for fisherman through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).
- National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis launched.
- Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of 15,000 crore will be setup.
- Promotion of Herbal Cultivation: Outlay of Rs. 4,000 crore.
- Beekeeping initiatives – Rs 500 crore.
- “Operation Greens” run by Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) will be extended from tomatoes, onion and potatoes to ALL fruit and vegetables.
Measures for administrative and governance reforms:
- Amendments to Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers.
- A Central law will be formulated to provide adequate choices to the farmer to sell their produce at remunerative price and barrier free Inter-State Trade.
- A facilitative legal framework to enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters etc. in a fair and transparent manner.
Significance and I of these measures:
Amendments to the ECA, reforms in agricultural marketing and risk mitigation through predictable prices will empower farmers, strengthen agri-food processing linkages and enable demand-driven value added agriculture.
The reforms will encourage investments in food processing and together with the infrastructure outlays will contribute in shaping a competitive agri value chain, reduce wastages and raise farmer incomes.
The removal of cereals from essential commodities, the agricultural marketing policy changes being made to facilitate direct sale to aggregators, and the assistance being provided to enhance food processing and post harvest infrastructure in proximity to farm gates are excellent formulations which will help farmers.
What has the government done during the lockdown for the development of agriculture?
- Rs 30,000 crore as Additional Emergency Working Capital facility through NABARD to enable RRBs and Cooperative Banks extending farm loans for Rabi post-harvest and Kharif expenses.
- A mission-mode drive to enable Rs 2 lakh crore credit boost to the farm sector by covering 2.5 crore PM-KISAN beneficiaries under Kisan Credit Card Scheme by December 2020.
- Minimum Support Price (MSP) purchases of amount more than Rs 74,300 crore, PM KISAN fund Transfer of Rs 18,700 crore and PM Fasal Bima Yojana claim payment of Rs 6,400 crore have been made.
- During Lockdown, Demand of Milk reduced by 20-25%. Accordingly, 560 Lakh litre per day (LLPD) were procured by cooperatives against daily sale of 360 LLPD. Total 111 crore litres of milk extra procured ensuring payment of Rs 4,100 crore.
- A new scheme to provide interest subvention @2% per annum to dairy cooperatives for 2020-21 has been launched, also providing additional 2% p.a interest subvention on prompt payment/interest servicing. This scheme will unlock Rs 5,000 crore additional liquidity, benefitting 2 crore farmers.
- What is Essential commodities act?
- What is interest subvention?
- Commodities covered under MSP scheme.
- India’s milk production capacity.
- What are micro food enterprises?
- Features of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana.
- Objectives of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
Topics Covered: Cyber security.
Context: The Computer Emergency Response of Team (CERT) of India has issued warning against a new malware called “EventBot”.
- The malware steals personal financial information from Android phone users.
- The Eventbolt is a Trojan. It cheats victims secretly attacking computer or phone operating system.
- It targets money-transfer services, financial applications.
What’s the Difference Between Malware, Trojan, Virus, and Worm?
Malware is defined as a software designed to perform an unwanted illegal act via the computer network. It could be also defined as software with malicious intent.
Malware can be classified based on how they get executed, how they spread, and/or what they do. Some of them are discussed below.
- Virus: A program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a possible evolved copy of itself.
- Worms: Disseminated through computer networks, unlike viruses, computer worms are malicious programs that copy themselves from system to system, rather than infiltrating legitimate files.
- Trojans: Trojan or trojan horse is a program that generally impairs the security of a system. Trojans are used to create back-doors (a program that allows outside access into a secure network) on computers belonging to a secure network so that a hacker can have access to the secure network.
- Hoax: An e-mail that warns the user of a certain system that is harming the computer. The message thereafter instructs the user to run a procedure (most often in the form of a download) to correct the harming system. When this program is run, it invades the system and deletes an important file.
- Spyware: Invades a computer and, as its name implies, monitors a user’s activities without consent. Spywares are usually forwarded through unsuspecting e-mails with bonafide e-mail i.ds. Spyware continues to infect millions of computers globally.
Facts for Prelims
It is a village in Meghalaya.
It is named after the alkaloid quinine extracted from the bark of cinchona, a plant belonging to the Rubiaceae family and classified as either a large shrub or a small tree.
The place was called Quinine because of the plantation.
Non Convertible Debentures:
Debentures are long-term financial instruments which acknowledge a debt obligation towards the issuer. Some debentures have a feature of convertibility into shares after a certain point of time at the discretion of the owner. The debentures which can’t be converted into shares or equities are called non-convertible debentures (or NCDs).
Non-convertible debentures are used as tools to raise long-term funds by companies through a public issue. To compensate for this drawback of non-convertibility, lenders are usually given a higher rate of return compared to convertible debentures.
NCDs offer various other benefits to the owner such as high liquidity through stock market listing, tax exemptions at source and safety since they can be issued by companies which have a good credit rating as specified in the norms laid down by RBI for the issue of NCDs. In India, usually these have to be issued of a minimum maturity of 90 days.
International Press Institute (IPI):
It is a global organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom and the improvement of journalism practices.
Founded in October 1950, the IPI has members in over 120 countries.
Composition: Editors, media executives and IPI Leading Journalists which is open to heads of media departments, bureau chiefs, correspondents and others.
IPI enjoys consultative status with the UN, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.
IPI is a member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, a global network of non-governmental organisations that monitors press freedom and free expression violations worldwide.
What is a rights issue?
A rights issue is an offering of shares made to existing shareholders in proportion to their existing shareholding. Companies often offer shares in a rights issue at a discount on the market price.
Rights issues are used by companies seeking to raise capital without increasing debt.
Shareholders are not obliged to purchase shares offered in a rights issue.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared a cyclone alert for the Indian coastline across the Bay of Bengal as a low-pressure area has formed over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining south Andaman sea. The cyclone will be named ‘Cyclone Amphan’.
Gharial (Gavial or fish eating crocodile):
Context: 40 gharials released in Ghaghara river amid lockdown.
Critically Endangered— IUCN Red List.
The male gharial has a distinctive boss at the end of the snout, which resembles an earthenware pot.
Habitat— foremost flowing rivers with high sand banks that they use for basking and building nests. Gharials once inhabited all the major river systems of the Indian Subcontinent, from the Irrawaddy River in the east to the Indus River in the west. Their distribution is now limited to only 2% of their former range
India: Girwa River, Chambal River, Ken River, Son River, Mahanadi River, Ramganga River
Nepal: Rapti-Narayani River
Threats: Hunting for skins, trophies and indigenous medicine, and their eggs collected for consumption, Decrease of riverine habitat as dams, barrages, irrigation canals and artificial embankments were built; siltation and sand-mining changed river courses
- Shedule 1 species under Indian wildlife act, 1972.
- Project Crocodile began in 1975 (Government of India+ United Nations Development Fund + Food and Agriculture Organization) — intensive captive breeding and rearing program.
- Protected areas: National Chambal Sanctuary and Katerniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
GOAL (Going Online As Leaders)” programme:
Launched by Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) in partnership with Facebook.
Aims to provide mentorship to tribal youth through digital mode.
Under this, 5,000 young tribal entrepreneurs, professionals, artisans and artists will be trained by experts from different disciplines on digital skills under digital entrepreneurship program.
Insights Current Affairs Analysis (I–CAN) by IAS Topper