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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 21 August 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 2018.

2. Swachh Survekshan 2020 report.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Parliamentary standing committees.

2. What the serosurvey results in India imply?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Namath Basai.

2. Trifood Project.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 2018:


Context:

Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 2018 is a periodic compendium of the state of scientific research in India. It was released recently.

Who prepares the report?

The STI is prepared by National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS), a division of Department of Science and Technology (DST).

  • It is based on data provided by a range of scientific establishments across the country.

Key findings:

  • India’s private sector research companies appear to employ a larger proportion of women in core research and development activities than government-funded major scientific agencies do.
  • The 2018 indicators reiterate the historic trend of India’s scientists being overwhelmingly men.

Key takeaways:

On the whole, private sector companies had a greater commitment to ensuring that women scientists were fairly represented in recruitment, promotions and appraisal processes than in many scientific organisations.

The large drop in the number of women between the doctoral and professional stages appears to be due to:

  1. Social pressure on women to have a family which is seen as incompatible with a professional career.
  2. Patriarchal attitudes in hiring practices, so many women are discriminated against at this stage as well, with administrators deciding that women ‘should’ be opting for family over a career.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Science and Technology Indicators?
  2. Who prepares the report?
  3. Key findings.

Mains Link:

India’s private sector research companies appear to employ a larger proportion of women in core research and development activities than government-funded major scientific agencies do. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Swachh Survekshan 2020 report:


Context:

Swachh Survekshan 2020 report was recently released by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.

  • Swachh Survekshan 2020 covered 4,242 cities, 62 cantonment boards and 92 Ganga towns. This survey was carried out in 28 days.
  • This year the Ministry has released rankings based on the categorisation of cities on population, instead of releasing overall rankings.

Performance of various cities:

  1. Indore was ranked the cleanest city in the overall category this year followed by Surat and Navi Mumbai.
  2. Chhattisgarh is the cleanest state in the category of states with more than 100 urban local bodies (ULBs).
  3. Ahmedabad is India’s the cleanest Mega city.
  4. New Delhi is the cleanest capital city.
  5. Chhattisgarh’s Ambikapur is the cleanest smallest city.
  6. Bengaluru wins the Best Self Sustainability award in the Mega city category.
  7. Jharkhand is the cleanest state in the category of state with less than 100 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
  8. Cleanest Cantonment: Jalandhar Cantt, Punjab.
  9. Cleanest Town along the banks of river Ganga:
  10. In cities with population less than one lakh, Karad in Mahrashtra is cleanest city.
  11. Maximum citizen participation in keeping city areas clean – Shahjahanpur.
  12. Cleanest megacity with more than 40 lac population – Ahmedabad (Gujarat).
  13. Fastest-moving city in terms of cleanliness – Jodhpur (Rajasthan).
  14. Self-sustainable city in terms of cleanliness (more than 10 lakh population) – Rajkot (Gujarat).
  15. Mysuru (Karnataka) is ranked cleanest among the medium-sized cities with a population ranging between 3 lakh and 10 lakh.

What is Swachh Survekshan?

Launched by PM Modi in 2016.

It is meant to monitor the performance of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which was launched on October 2, 2014, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

It was also aimed at inculcating a spirit of healthy competition among cities towards becoming India’s cleanest cities.

Who conducts the survey?

The Quality Council of India (QCI) is in charge of evaluating the performance of the participating cities. This is an autonomous accreditation body which was set up by the Government of India in 1997 for quality assurance in all fields, including governance.

swachh_survekshan

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Swachh Survekshan? When was the first survey conducted?
  2. Top performers in the latest survey.
  3. About Swachh Basharat Abhiyaan.
  4. About Quality Council of India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Parliamentary standing committees:


Context:

The parliamentary standing committee on Information Technology has summoned Facebook on September 2 to discuss the issue of alleged misuse of social media platforms in the wake of claims that the US firm did not apply hate-speech rules to certain BJP politicians.

What are Parliamentary Committees?

The Lok Sabha website describes a parliamentary committee as a “committee which is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker and which works under the direction of the Speaker and presents its report to the House or to the Speaker and the Secretariat”.

Different types of committees:

  1. ‘Standing’committees: Their existence is uninterrupted and usually reconstituted on an annual basis.
  • They are further divided into financial committees and departmentally-related standing committees (DRSCs).
  • Finance committees are considered to be particularly powerful. The three financial committees are the Public Accounts Committee, the Estimates Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings.
  1. ‘Select’ committees formed for a specific purpose, for instance, to deliberate on a particular bill. Once the Bill is disposed of, that select committee ceases to exist.

Composition of Departmentally-related standing committees (DRSCs):

Until the 13th Lok Sabha, each DRSC comprised 45 members — 30 nominated from Lok Sabha and 15 from the Rajya Sabha.

However, with their restructuring in July 2004, each DRSC now has 31 members — 21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha, to be nominated by Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha chairman, respectively.

  • They are appointed for a maximum period of one year and the committees are reconstituted every year cutting across party lines.

Composition of Financial Committees:

  • The estimates committee has 30 members, all from the Lok Sabha.
  • Both the public accounts committee and the committee on public undertakings have 22 members each — 15 elected from the Lok Sabha and seven from the Rajya Sabha.

Powers:

Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).

Significance:

Committee reports are usually exhaustive and provide authentic information on matters related to governance. Bills that are referred to committees are returned to the House with significant value addition. However, Parliament is not bound by the recommendations of committees.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between Parliamentary vs Cabinet committees.
  2. Standing vs select vs finance committees.
  3. Who appoints chairperson and members of these committees?
  4. Committees exclusive to only Lok Sabha.
  5. Committees where Speaker is the chairperson.

Mains Link:

What are Parliamentary Standing committees? Why are they necessary? Discuss their roles and functions to bring out their significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What the serosurvey results in India imply?


Context:

Over the last two months, Serosurveys have been conducted in various cities across the country including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune.

  • These serosurvey results suggest Covid-19 is far more widespread than virus tests show.

Key findings:

  • In Punemore than 51%of those who were tested showed the presence of antibodies specific to the novel coronavirus, suggesting that about half the population of this city of 4 million could have already been infected.
  • An earlier exercise in Delhi had suggested that the actual spread could be 40 times the number of confirmed cases.
  • As per the second survey, 29% of Delhi has antibodies for Covid-19.
  • In Mumbai, about 40 per cent of the sampled group was found to be infected.

Key takeaways from these findings:

  1. More Asymptomatic cases: These numbers confirm the general impression that most SARS-CoV2 infections are asymptomatic (some estimates say approximately 80 per cent are asymptomatic). Of course, the virus could be spreading from asymptomatically infected people too, especially within families.
  2. Inadequate tests: From a capacity to test just a few hundred samples at the start of the outbreak in March to more than eight lakh tests a day now, there has been a massive upgrade in the testing infrastructure. And yet, the serological tests show that a vast majority of the infected people are still being missed out, particularly those who are not showing symptoms.

Is it leading to herd immunity?

Scientists warn against interpreting these results as an indication of the percentage of population that might have become immune to the disease. The serological surveys are not designed to detect neutralising or “protective” antibodies in human beings.

  • All antibodies are not protective. It is only the neutralising antibodies that can make a person immune to the disease.
  • Besides, Scientists still do not know the level of infection in the population at which “herd immunity” would start to play a role.

Need of the hour:

Adequate testing is crucial to containment strategies. It is the only method to identify, and isolate, infected people and their close contacts.

  • The more the tests, the greater the chance of detecting infected people, including those who are asymptomatic. Timely isolation of these can prevent transmission to other people.

A higher number of tests, therefore, has a direct bearing on slowing down the spread of the disease.

Insta Concepts:

What is sero survey? What it indicates?

The serological survey is one that involves collecting blood samples to:

  1. Determine whether a person is infected with the novel coronavirus.
  2. Detect whether the person was infected with the said virus in the past.
  3. Identify antibodies being produced to combat COVID-19.

covid_19_ser

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

National Strategy for Financial Education 2020-2025 (NSFE):


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India has released a national strategy for financial education to be implemented in the next five years.

  • The multi-stakeholder led approach is aimed at creating a financially aware and empowered India.
  • It is the second NSFE , the first one being released in 2013.

Basic objectives:

The objectives include managing risk at various life stages through relevant and suitable insurance cover besides planning for old age and retirement through coverage of suitable pension products.

Who prepared it?

The NSFE has been put together by the National Centre for Financial Education (NCFE) in consultation with the four financial sector regulators (Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority) and other relevant stakeholders.

Highlights of NSFE: 2020-25- Key recommendations:

  1. Adopt a ‘5 C’ – Content, Capacity, Community, Communication and Collaboration – approach to achieve the financial well-being of all Indians.
  2. It has suggested financial literacy content for school children (including curriculum and co-scholastic), teachers, young adults, women, new entrants at workplace/ entrepreneurs (MSMEs), senior citizens, persons with disabilities, illiterate people, etc.
  3. Capacity development of various intermediaries, who can be involved in providing financial literacy.
  4. Develop a ‘Code of Conduct’ for financial education providers.
  5. Community-led approaches should be evolved for disseminating financial literacy in a sustainable manner.
  6. A specific period in the year needs to be identified to disseminate financial literacy messages on a large/ focused scale.
  7. Integrate financial education content in the school curriculum, various professional and vocational courses (undertaken by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship) through their Sector Skilling Missions and B.Ed./M.Ed. programmes.
  8. Adopt a robust ‘Monitoring and Evaluation Framework’ to assess progress made under the strategy.

Significance and expected outcomes:

The strategy seeks to develop credit discipline and encourage availing of credit from formal financial institutions as per requirement.

It wants to improve usage of digital financial services in a safe and secure manner.

The document wants management of risk at various life stages through relevant and suitable insurance cover and plan for old age and retirement through coverage of suitable pension products.

About NCFE:

National Centre for Financial Education (NCFE) is a Not for Profit Company promoted by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Namath Basai:

It is Kerala government’s unique programme of teaching tribal children in their mother tongue.

Implemented by the Samagra Siksha Kerala (SSK).

  • The SSK has distributed some 50 laptops exclusively for Namath Basai. Pre-recorded classes are offered through a YouTube channel.
  • It has succeeded in retaining hundreds of tribal children in their online classes by making them feel at home with the language of instruction.

Trifood Project:

Context: Trifood Project of TRIFED launched in Raigad, Maharashtra and Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh.

Details of the project:

  • Being implemented by TRIFED, Ministry of Tribal Affairs in association with Ministry of Food Processing (MoFPI).
  • Aims to enhance the income of tribals through better utilization of and value addition to the MFPs collected by the tribal forest gatherers.
  • How? To achieve this, as a start, two Minor Forest Produce (MFP) processing units will be set up.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Expansion of the NCC.
  2. PMEPG

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