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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 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 2:

1. Minimum age of marriage for women.

2. What is the national digital health mission?

3. Teesta river dispute.

4. Insolvency process will be initiated against Anil Ambani.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. National Food Security Act 2013.

2. BIS’ draft standard for drinking water supply.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Indian Association of Parliamentariants on Population and Development (IAPPD).

2. Nuakhai Juhar.

3. Council for transgenders.

4. What are flavonoids?

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Minimum age of marriage for women:


Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the Centre will decide on the recommendations of a committee set up to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women.

  • The minimum age of marriage, especially for women, has been a contentious issue.

Background:

The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development set up a committee in June, headed by Jaya Jaitley, to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering Maternal Mortality Ratio and the improvement of nutritional levels among women.

  • It will examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with health, medical well-being, and nutritional status of the mother and neonate, infant or child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter.

What the law says?

Currently, the law prescribes that the minimum age of marriage is 21 and 18 years for men and women, respectively.

  • The minimum age of marriage is distinct from the age of majority, which is gender-neutral.
  • An individual attains the age of majority at 18 as per the Indian Majority Act, 1875.
  • For Hindus, Section 5(iii) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955sets 18 years as the minimum age for the bride and 21 years as the minimum age for the groom. Child marriages are not illegal but can be declared void at the request of the minor in the marriage.
  • In Islam, the marriage of a minor who has attained puberty is considered valid under personal law.
  • The Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 also prescribe 18 and 21 years as the minimum age of consent for marriage for women and men respectively.

Why is the law being relooked at?

From bringing in gender-neutrality to reduce the risks of early pregnancy among women, there are many arguments in favour of increasing the minimum age of marriage of women.

  • Early pregnancy is associated with increased child mortality rates and affects the health of the mother.
  • Despite laws mandating minimum age and criminalising sexual intercourse with a minor, child marriages are very prevalent in the country.
  • Also, according to a study, children born to adolescent mothers (10-19 years) were 5 percentage points more likely to be stunted (shorter for their age) than those born to young adults (20-24 years).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Jaya Jailtley committee was constituted for the purpose of?
  2. Legal provisions related to minimum age of marriage for men and women in India.
  3. Key provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  4. Overview of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Mains Link:

Do you think minimum age for marriage for men and women should be raised? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is the national digital health mission?


Context:

In his address to the nation on Independence Day, the PM has launched the National Digital Health Mission which rolls out a national health ID for every Indian.

  • The scheme will be rolled out through a pilot launch in the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

What is the National Digital Health Mission?

It is a digital health ecosystem under which every Indian citizen will now have unique health IDs, digitised health records with identifiers for doctors and health facilities.

  • The Mission is expected to bring efficiency and transparency in healthcare services in the country.
  • The new scheme will come under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

Key features:

  1. It comprises six key building blocks — HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, e-Pharmacy and Telemedicine.
  2. The National Health Authority has been given the mandate to design, build, roll-out and implement the mission in the country.
  3. The core building blocks of the mission is that the health ID, DigiDoctor and Health Facility Registry shall be owned, operated and maintained by the Government of India.
  4. Private stakeholders will have an equal opportunity to integrate and create their own products for the market. The core activities and verifications, however, remain with the government.
  5. Under the Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID card that will store all medical details of the person including prescriptions, treatment, diagnostic reports and discharge summaries.
  6. The citizens will be able to give their doctors and health providers one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital for consultation.

What was the need for this mission?

The mission aims to liberate citizens from the challenges of finding the right doctors, seeking appointment, payment of consultation fee, making several rounds of hospitals for prescription sheets, among several others and will empower people to make an informed decision to avail the best possible healthcare.

Background:

The ambitious National Digital Health Mission finds its roots in a 2018 Niti Aayog proposal to create a centralised mechanism to uniquely identify every participating user in the National Health Stack.

Have there been global instances of such a centralised health record system?

In 2005, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) started deployment of an electronic health record systems with a goal to have all patients with a centralised electronic health record by 2010. While several hospitals acquired electronic patient records systems as part of this process, there was no national healthcare information exchange. The program was ultimately dismantled after a cost to the UK taxpayer was more than £12 billion, and is considered one of the most expensive healthcare IT failures.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the National Digital Health Mission.
  2. Components of the mission.
  3. Proposed National Health ID.
  4. Who can issue these IDs?
  5. Key hit of the National Health Policy 2017.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the National Digital Health Mission.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Teesta river dispute:


Context:

India and Bangladesh have been engaged in a long-standing dispute over water-sharing in the Teesta. 

Adding to the existing tensions, Bangladesh is now discussing an almost $1 billion loan from China for a comprehensive management and restoration project on the Teesta river.

Why India is concerned and worried?

Bangladesh’s discussions with China come at a time when India is particularly wary about China following the standoff in Ladakh.

How have relations between Bangladesh and China been developing?

  • China is the biggest trading partner of Bangladesh and is the foremost source of imports.
  • Recently, China declared zero duty on 97% of imports from Bangladesh. The concession flowed from China’s duty-free, quota-free programme for the Least Developed Countries.
  • China is the biggest arms supplier to Bangladesh.

About Teesta river:

  • Teesta river is a tributary of the Brahmaputra (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh), flowing through India and Bangladesh.
  • It originates in the Himalayas near Chunthang, Sikkimand flows to the south through West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.
  • The Teesta Barrage dam helps to provide irrigation for the plains between the upper Padma and the Jamuna.

Efforts to resolve the dispute:

Negotiations on how to share the water have been going on since 1983.

  • A 2011 interim deal – that was supposed to last 15 years – gave India 42.5 percent of the Teesta’s waters and gave Bangladesh 37.5 percent. Bengal opposed this deal so it was shelved and remains unsigned.

Bangladesh sought a fair and equitable distribution of Teesta waters from India, on the lines of the Ganga Water Treaty 1996.

  • The treaty is an agreement to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage near their mutual border.

In 2015, the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Dhaka generated expectations to take forward the issue but it still remains unresolved.
However, In India, individual states have significant influence over transboundary agreements, impeding the policymaking process.

  • West Bengalis one of the key stakeholders of the Teesta agreement and is yet to endorse the deal.

Importance of Teesta River:

For Bangladesh:

  • Its flood plain covers about 14% of the total cropped area of Bangladesh and provides direct livelihood opportunities to approximately 73% of its population.

For West Bengal:

  • Teesta is the lifeline of North Bengal and almost half a dozen of districts of West Bengal are dependent on the waters of Teesta.

meghalaya

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Teesta river- origin, tributaries and states through which it passes.
  2. Where is Farakka barrage?
  3. About the Ganga Water Treaty 1996.
  4. Rivers flowing between India and Bangladesh.
  5. Tributaries of Brahmaputra river.

Mains Link:

Write a brief note on the geography of Teesta River and the reasons why sharing of its water between India and Bangladesh has become a dispute.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

Insolvency process will be initiated against Anil Ambani:


Context:

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has allowed the initiation of insolvency proceedings against Anil Ambani after two companies promoted by him failed to pay dues on Rs 1,200 crore that they had borrowed from State Bank of India (SBI).

  • The insolvency process will be initiated against Ambani as he had given personal guarantee against the loans provided to his firms.

Personal insolvency:

The case is significant as it is one of the first cases of insolvency against a major business group head.

The rules for initiation of personal insolvency were notified last year in December.

What is the process for personal insolvency?

As the NCLT has allowed the appointment of an interim resolution professional (IRP) in the matter, SBI will now approach the IRP with a list of the assets provided by Ambani as a personal guarantee when his companies had sought the loan.

In the case of banks providing loans against personal guarantee, the guarantor has to furnish a list of assets whose value is equivalent to the total amount of loan being given.

  • In case of failure to pay these assets, these guarantees can be invoked.

What happens to Anil Ambani after the insolvency process is over?

Like corporate insolvency processes, a businessperson is free to start with a clean slate after a personal insolvency case against them is over.

The lenders will be eligible to recover their dues only from the collateral deposited or personal assets belonging to that person.

However, any or all assets mentioned in the list provided at the time of sanctioning of the loan, even if transferred to someone else, can also be attached and sold.

  • Ambani will be free to run other businesses which are not under insolvency, or which are able to service their debts and obligations on time.

For details on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), refer:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/06/08/insolvency-and-bankruptcy-code/.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is insolvency and bankruptcy?
  2. Various institutions established under the IBC code.
  3. NCLT- composition and functions.
  4. What are debt recovery tribunals?
  5. Sections 7, 9 and 10 of IBC.

Mains Link:

Discuss how suspension of initiation of fresh insolvency proceedings will help shield companies impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Food security related issues.

National Food Security Act 2013:

Context:

Department of Food &Public Distribution issues directions to States/UTs to include all eligible disabled persons under the National Food Security Act 2013.

  • It has also asked the states to ensure that they get their entitled quota of food grains under NFSA & Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

Enabling provisions:

Section 38 of the Act mandates that the Central Government may from time to time give directions to the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.

The Section 10 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for coverage of persons under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana in accordance with the guidelines applicable to the said scheme and the remaining households as priority households in accordance with such guidelines as the States Government may specify.

  • Disability is one of the criteria for inclusion of beneficiaries under AAY households

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013:

The objective is to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.

Key features:

  1. Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): The TDPS covers 50% of the urban population and 75% of the rural population, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. However, the poorest of the poor households will continue to receive 35 kg per household per month under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).
  2. Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision: For a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act, Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains.
  3. Identification of Households: The identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs under TDPS determined for each State.
  4. Nutritional Support to women and children: Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years and pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Malnourished children up to the age of 6 have been prescribed for higher nutritional norms.
  5. Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be receiving maternity benefit of Rs. 6,000.
  6. Women Empowerment: For the purpose of issuing of ration cards, eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above is to be the head of the household.
  7. Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Grievance redressal mechanism available at the District and State levels.
  8. Cost of transportation & handling of food grains and FPS Dealers’ margin : the expenditure incurred by the state on transportation of food grains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose and assistance to states will be provided by the Central Government to meet the above expenditure.
  9. Transparency and Accountability: In order to ensure transparency and accountability, provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees.
  10. Food Security Allowance: In case of non-supply of entitled food grains or meals, there is a provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries.
  11. Penalty: If the public servant or authority fails to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer, penalty will be imposed by the State Food Commission according to the provision.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About TPDS.
  2. Who gets food security allowance under the scheme?
  3. Provisions of penalty under the act.
  4. Maternity benefits related provisions.
  5. Overview of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
  6. Overview of Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme.
  7. The responsibility of 3. Identification of Households under the scheme.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

BIS’ draft standard for drinking water supply:


Context:

The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has prepared a draft standard for the supply system of piped drinking water– ‘Drinking water supply quality management system — requirements for piped drinking water supply service’.

  • The draft has been prepared by the BIS’ Public Drinking Water Supply Services Sectional Committee.

Highlights of the draft:

  1. It outlines the process of water supply, from raw water sources to household taps.
  2. It outlines the requirements for a water supplier or a water utility on how they should establish, operate, maintain and improve their piped drinking water supply service.
  3. It states that the water treatment process should be planned in such a manner that after treatment the drinking water should conform to the Indian Standard (IS) 10500 developed by the BIS.
  4. It contains guidelines for top management of the water utility, in terms of accountability and customer focus, establishing a quality policy for their service, monitoring the quality of water released to people, and conducting a water audit.
  5. It states that the concept of district metering area (DMA) should be adopted where possible. DMA is a concept for controlling leakages in the water network, which is essentially divided into a number of sectors, called the DMAs, and where flow meters are installed to detect leaks.
  6. It mentions that water should be sampled at the treatment plant every four hours against quality parameters. In the distribution system, the sampling should be done every eight hours at the water reservoirs. Random sampling should also be done at household levels.

Significance of the draft and need for it:

The standard holds importance as it is expected to make the process of piped water supply more uniform, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas of the country where the system runs on various government orders and circulars.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


Indian Association of Parliamentariants on Population and Development (IAPPD):

It is a national level Non-Governmental organization established in the year 1978.

  • The organiztion was formed with an Imperative to moderating the pace of population growth for a smoother course of development so as to ensure an overall improvement in the quality of life of the people and maintain a proper balance between population and development.

Nuakhai Juhar:

Nuakhai Juhar is the agricultural festival is also called Nuakhai Parab or Nuakahi Bhetghat.

Nuakhai is a combination of two words signifies eating of new rice as ‘nua’ means new and ‘khai’ means eat.

  • It is one of the most ancient festivals celebrated in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and areas of neighbouring states to welcome the new crop of the season.
  • On this day, people worship food grain and prepare special meals. Farmers offer the first produce from their lands to Goddess Samaleswari, the famous ‘Mother Goddess’ of Sambalpur district of Odisha.

National Council for transgenders:

The Centre has constituted the national council for transgender persons.

Composition: Headed by the Union social justice minister and comprising representatives from 10 central departments, five states and members of the community.

The council is India’s first and formed under Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

  • The council has five main functions — advising the central government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons; monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons; reviewing and coordinating the activities of all the departments; redressing grievances of transgender persons; and performing such other functions as prescribed by the Centre.

What are flavonoids?

Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients present in almost all vegetables and fruits.

They, along with carotenoids, are responsible for the varied colours of fruits and vegetables.

  • They are associated with health benefits being good antioxidants, having anti-inflammatory properties and also offer benefits for the immune system.

Why in News?

Recently, scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), found the first synthetic route for producing flavonoids molecules related to the treatment of tuberculosis and chikungunya.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

1. Lokayukta

 

Note:

Henceforth, Daily Current Affairs will be posed on time. We regret for not being consistent in uploading the articles regularly over the last one week.


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