For online IAS classes

For online IAS classes, Click Here, Click here.

Centre to Roll out targeted Drug Demand Reduction Programme

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • A targeted drug-demand reduction programme will soon be rolled out in high-risk areas of 127 districts in the country by the Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry.

About the Drug Demand Reduction Programme:

  • It is  a part of the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction for 2019-2020
  • While all 127 districts will have outreach and drop-in centres, 68 will also have community-based peer-led intervention among adolescents, according to the operational guidelines of the programme. Among the 68 districts are all State Capitals and Union Territories.
  • The peer-led interventions would involve students reaching out to their fellow students. The objective of this would be to assess drug use in the community, provide early prevention and give referrals to counselling, treatment and rehabilitation services. In each area, there would be one coordinator, two trainers-cum-supervisors and 20 peer educators, who would also be trained, the guidelines said.
  • The outreach centres would reach out to vulnerable youth, provide a safe space for drug users to drop in for counselling and provide linkage to treatment and rehab facilities, the guidelines said.

What is the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction?

  • It is a five year plan running from 2018-2023 that has been formed to address the drug and substance abuse problem in the country by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
  • It will employ a multi-pronged strategy involving education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families to address the issue.
  • A steering committee would be constituted under the chairmanship of the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and with representatives from several other Ministries to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan.
  • The Action Plan calls for persuading principals, directors, vice chancellors of educational institutions to ensure that no drugs are sold within/nearby the campus.
  • It aims to increase community participation and public cooperation in the reduction of demand by involving Panchayati Raj institutions, Urban Local Bodies, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan and other local groups like Mahila Mandals, self-help groups etc to tackle the menace of drugs.


Media Ownership Monitor – Reporters Without Border

Paper : Prelims Specific, General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • The findings of a research project conducted by Reporters without Borders and DataLEADS a Digital Media company called Media Ownership Monitor were released

What are the findings?

  • It found that the production of media content and its distribution are becoming increasingly combined and concentrated in the hands of a few
  • The study also assesses the media space as a narrow one, comprising of the state’s monopoly in radio news and highly concentrated regional newspaper markets that are controlled by a small number of powerful owners, some of whom have strong political affiliations.
  • The high level of concentration comes as a result of considerable gaps in the regulatory framework to safeguard media pluralism and prevent media concentration.
  • The patches of regulation that exist do not seem to be properly implemented, the study finds. Law in India does not regulate cross-media concentration either.

What is Reporters without Borders?

  • Based in Paris, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is an independent NGO with consultative status with the United Nations, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and the International Organization of the Francophonie (OIF).
  • Reporters Without Borders has two primary spheres of activity: one is focused on Internet censorship and the new media, and the other on providing material, financial and psychological assistance to journalists assigned to dangerous areas.
  • Its missions are to continuously monitor attacks on freedom of information worldwide, denounce any such attacks in the media, act in cooperation with governments to fight censorship and laws aimed at restricting freedom of information, morally and financially assist persecuted journalists, as well as their families and offer material assistance to war correspondents in order to enhance their safety.
  • It publishes the World Press Freedom Index


Heat wave in Telangana to continue

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

According to the Indian Meteorological Department forecast, heat wave conditions are very likely to prevail in isolated pockets of Telangana for a few more days

What is a heat wave?

  • The World Meteorological Organization, defines a heat wave as 5 or more consecutive days of prolonged heat in which the daily maximum temperature is higher than the average maximum temperature by 5 °C or more.
  • Heat waves form when high pressure aloft (from 10,000–25,000 feet (3,000–7,600 metres)) strengthens and remains over a region for several days up to several weeks.
  • This is common in summer (in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres) as the jet stream ‘follows the sun’. On the equator side of the jet stream, in the upper layers of the atmosphere, is the high pressure area.
  • Summertime weather patterns are generally slower to change than in winter. As a result, this upper level high pressure also moves slowly.
  • Under high pressure, the air subsides (sinks) toward the surface, warming and drying adiabatically.
  • This warmer sinking air creates a high level inversion that acts as a dome capping the atmosphere, inhibiting convection, thereby trapping high humidity warm air below it.

What are the harmful effects to human health?

Heat exhaustion, hyperthermia (heat stroke), heat edema, heat rash, heat syncope and heat cramps are all harmful effects of heat waves to human health. Heat stroke can even lead to death.

What are the criteria for declaration of heat wave according to IMD?

Heat wave need not be considered till maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40º C for Plains and at least 30º C for Hilly regions.

When normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40º C

  • Heat Wave Departure from normal is 5º C to 6º C
  • Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 7º C or more

When normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40º C

  • Heat Wave Departure from normal is 4º C to 5º C
  • Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 6º C or more

When actual maximum temperature remains 45ºC or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature, heat wave should be declared.


National Clean Air Programme

Paper : General Studies 3


Why in news?

84 cities have submitted their plans under the National Clean Air Programme.

What is the National Clean Air Programme?

  • It is a medium term five year programme to combat air pollution.
  • The NCAP has an objective of comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network across the country and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.
  • A national level target of 20%–30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under the NCAP taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
  • Non-attainment cities have been identified on the basis of the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAQMP) 2011-2015 and WHO reports. At present there are 102 cities.
  • City specific action plans are being formulated for 102 non-attainment cities identified for implementing mitigation actions under NCAP.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the implementing agency for the programme.
  • In addition, sectoral working groups, national level Project Monitoring Unit, Project Implementation Unit, state level project monitoring unit, city level review committee under the Municipal Commissioner and DM level Committee in the Districts are to be constituted under NCAP for effective implementation and success of the Programme.
  • Other features of NCAP include, increasing number of monitoring stations in the country including rural monitoring stations, technology support, emphasis on awareness and capacity building initiatives, setting up of certification agencies for monitoring equipment, source apportionment studies, emphasis on enforcement, specific sectoral interventions etc.



India removed from currency monitoring list by US

Paper : General Studies 2, General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • US removed India from its currency monitoring list of major trading partners citing steps taken by New Delhi to address its concerns. Switzerland was the other country that was removed from the list
  • India has been removed from the list after it met only one out of three criteria, necessary for inclusion on the monitoring list, — a significant bilateral surplus with the US — for two consecutive reports
  • The list includes China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam among others.


Who is placed on the list?

  • Countries that are suspect of deliberate currency manipulation and intervention in the foreign exchange markets are put on the list by the US government.
  • The three pre-conditions for being named currency manipulator are: a trade surplus of over $20 billion with the US, a current account deficit surplus of 3% of the GDP, and persistent foreign exchange purchases of 2% plus of the GDP over 12 months.


RBI forms task force on corporate loans

Paper : General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • RBI has constituted a task force to suggest policy and regulatory interventions required for development of secondary market in corporate loans headed by T.N. Manoharan
  • The task force will review existing state of the market for loan sale or transfer in India as well as the international experience in loan trading.
  • The task force will also make recommendations on measures for enhanced participation of buyers, sellers in loan sale or transfer.
  • The task force shall submit its report by the end of August 2019.