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Menstrual Health

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Why in the news?

To improve the menstrual health among adolescent girls, Government of India is supporting the States/UTs through National Health Mission in their Program Implementation Plans for decentralized procurement of Sanitary napkins packs.

What initiatives have been taken by the Government?

  • Increasing awareness among adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene
  • Improving access to and use of high quality sanitary napkins by adolescent girls residing in rural areas
  • Scheme is also being implemented in the urban areas with roll out in selected cities of 15 States in the first phase.
  • Ensuring safe disposal of sanitary napkins in an environmentally friendly manner.
  • Provision of funds to ASHAs to hold monthly meetings with adolescents to discuss issues related to menstrual hygiene.

Government of India is providing NHM funds to States/UTs through Program Implementation Plans for decentralized procurement of Sanitary napkins and IEC-BCC activities. Health being a State subject (i.e. in the State List of the Seventh Schedule in the Constitution), involvement of NGOs or any private organization to support the activities hence remains the decision of the State/UTs.


UN Human Rights Council

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Why in the news?

  • India abstained from the vote for extending the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the UNHRC. The Expert reports on violence and discrimination against sexual minorities.
  • This decision was taken even when Supreme Court had struck down Section 377 under which homosexuality had been illegal.

About the Human Rights Council

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.
  • The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251. Its first session took place from 19 to 30 June 2006. One year later, the Council adopted its “Institution-building package” to guide its work and set up its procedures and mechanisms.
  • Among them were the Universal Periodic Review mechanism which serves to assess the human rights situations in all United Nations Member States, the Advisory Committee which serves as the Council’s “think tank” providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues and the Complaint Procedure which allows individuals and organizations to bring human rights violations to the attention of the Council.
  • The Human Rights Council also works with the UN Special Procedures established by the former Commission on Human Rights and assumed by the Council. These are made up of special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups that monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on thematic issues or human rights situations in specific countries.


India – US trade

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Why in the news?

  • A delegation led by Assistant United States Trade Representative(AUSTR) Christopher Wilson visited India on 11-12 July 2019 to explore potential for enhanced bilateral trade and economic engagement with Indiaunder the new Government.
  • The meeting was cordial and aimed at providing a new impetus to bilateral trade and commercial ties, in line with the mandate given by PrimeMinister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump during their meeting at Osaka, Japanon 28 June 2019.
  • Both sides discussed the broad contours of bilateral trade and commercial ties and agreed to continue their discussions for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes aimed at further growing the economic relationship and addressing mutual trade concerns.
  • US is also going to consider  a 301 probe on India – A probe employed as a precursor to tariffs and other trade measures against a country by the US if  the trade issues between the two countries are not resolved quickly.

Status of Indo-US Trade relations

  • According to the US state department, US-India bilateral trade reached $142.1 billion (€126 billion) in 2018, amounting to a massive sevenfold increase since 2001.The  Indo-American Chamber of Commerce has said that figure could jump to $500 billion annually within five years.
  • The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with India was $24.2 billion in 2018.  The U.S. goods trade deficit with India was $21.3 billion in 2018 and that for services was $3.0 billion.
  • India is the 9th largest goods trading partner with $87.5 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2018 for the US.
  • US imports from India were $83.2 billion.
  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in India (stock) was $44.5 billion in 2017, a 15.1% increase from 2016. U.S. direct investment in India is led by professional, scientific, and technical services, manufacturing, and wholesale trade.
  • India’s FDI in the United States (stock) was $9.8 billion in 2017 (latest data available), up 11.5% from 2016. India’s direct investment in the U.S. is led by professional, scientific, and technical services, manufacturing, and depository institutions.
  • US has brought to an end the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits that it accords to developing markets for India.


Index of Industrial Production

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: mobilization of resources

Why in the news?

Growth in the Index of Industrial Production slowed in May from 4.32% in April. Within the index, the mining sector slowed to 3.16% in May from 5.07% in April. The manufacturing sector saw growth slowing to 2.46% from 3.98% over the same period.

What is Index of Industrial Production?

  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) measures the quantum of changes in the industrial production in an economy and captures the general level of industrial activity in the country. It is a composite indicator expressed in terms of an index number which measures the short term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to the base period.
  • The base year is always given a value of 100. The current base year for the IIP series in India is 2011-12. So, if the current IIP reads as 116 it means that there has been 16% growth compared to the base year.
  • IIP is a short term indicator of industrial growth till the results from Annual Survey of Industries and National Accounts Statistics are available. However, IIP is considered to be one of the lead indicators for short-term economic analysis because of its strong relationship with economic fluctuations in the rest of the economy. Most of services, like transport, storage, communication, real estate, insurance and banking are industry dependent and are considerably influenced by industrial performance.
  • Index of Industrial Production is compiled and published every month by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with a time lag of six weeks from the reference month. i.e., at the time of release of IIP data, quick estimates for the relevant month along with revised and final indices of previous two months respectively, (on the basis of updated production data) are released.
  • Industrial production for the purpose of IIP is divided into three sectors, i.e, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity. In ‘Sectoral’ classification, relative weights of Manufacturing, Mining and Electricity are 75.5%, 14.2% and 10.3% respectively.

Global Warming

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • In Greenland, thawing of permafrost and melting of the ice caps is threatening archaeological sites according to a study.
  • Because the degradation rate is controlled by the soil temperature and moisture content, rising air temperatures and changes in precipitation during the frost-free season may lead to a loss of organic key elements such as archaeological wood, bone and ancient DNA.
  • Projections used in the study, which are based on different warming scenarios, predict that average temperature could increase by up to 2.6 degrees Celsius, leading to “higher soil temperatures, a longer thaw season, and increased microbial activity within the organic layers”.
  • Results show that 30 to 70% of the archaeological fraction of organic carbon (OC) could disappear within the next 80 years.