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Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao

Paper: General Studies 1

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization

About the Scheme:

The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme aims to address the critical issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR). The specific objectives of the scheme are:

  • prevent gender biased sex selective elimination
  • ensure survival and protection of the girl child
  • ensure education and participation of the girl child through coordinated and convergent efforts.

 

Out of 640 districts (as per Census 2011), 405 districts are selected under Multi-sectoral intervention and advocacy & media campaign, while remaining 235 districts are covered under advocacy & media campaign only. 

 BBBP scheme has provision for awards and recognitions but no provision for direct individual cash transfer for any strata of society including daughters of poor women. It is not a DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) scheme. Under the scheme, combined data of urban and rural areas are considered for the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB).

 The latest reports of Health Management Information System (HMIS) of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) for the time period between F.Y. 2015-16 and F.Y. 2018-19, reveal that SRB is showing improving trends from 923 to 931, which include urban areas as well as rural areas of the country.

 

Electoral Bonds

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

Why in the news?

State Bank of India (SBI), in the XI Phase of sale, has been authorised to issue and encash Electoral Bonds through its 29 Authorized Branches

What are Electoral bonds?

  • It is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of State Bank of India. The citizen can then donate the same to any eligible political party of his/her choice.
  • Only the Political Parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last General Election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, shall be eligible to receive the Electoral Bonds. 
  • The Electoral Bonds shall be encashed by an eligible Political Party only through a Bank account with the Authorized Bank.
  • It may be noted that Electoral Bonds shall be valid for fifteen calendar days from the date of issue and no payment shall be made to any payee Political Party if the Electoral Bond is deposited after expiry of the validity period. The Electoral Bond deposited by an eligible Political Party in its account shall be credited on the same day.

 

Reservation for Marathas

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Why in the news?

  • Bombay High Court upheld the reservation for the Marathas under the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018
  • However, it quashed the 16% quota and capped it at 13% saying that it should not exceed 12% for education and 13% for jobs as recommended by the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission.
  • Reservation in Maharashtra now stands at 65%

 

What are the provisions for Reservation?

  • Article 15 (4) says that Nothing in this article (Article 16) or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
  • Article 16 (4) says that Nothing in this article ( Article 16) shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State
  • Article 46 of the Constitution states that “The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation
  • Supreme Court Court put 50% cap on reservations in M R Balaji v Mysore in 1963. In Indira Sawhney & Ors vs Union of India case 1992 it again restricted reservations up to 50% ruling that “no provision of reservation or preference can be so vigorously pursued as to destroy the very concept of equality”.
  • The Bombay High Court, yesterday,  held that 50% ceiling for reservation can be exceeded  under exceptional and extraordinary circumstances.

 

Tuberculosis

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?

  • The World Bank and the Government of India  signed here today a Loan Agreement of $400 Million to expand the coverage and the quality of interventions for the control of Tuberculosis (TB), which kills approximately half a million people in India every year. The World Bank supported program will cover nine States of India.    
  • The World Bank’s Program Towards Elimination of Tuberculosis will support the Government of India’s (GoI) National Strategic Plan to end TB in India by 2025.  It will do so by helping improve and strengthen diagnostics and management of drug-resistant tuberculosis and increase the capacity of public institutions engaged in monitoring and treating TB in the country.   
  • The World Bank and Govt. of India has over a two-decade long successful partnership in TB control.  The Bank’s support since 1998 has contributed to scaling up of Directly Observed Treatment and services to poor and high-risk groups, including tribal households, HIV patients, and children; universal access to diagnostics and quality TB care; and initiation of multi-drug resistant TB services.     

 

What is Tuberculosis?

  • Tuberculosis — or TB, as it’s commonly called — is a contagious infection that usually attacks the lungs. It can also spread to other parts of the body, like the brain and spine. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it.
  • TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
  • About one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease.
  • People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–15% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB. However, persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.
  • When a person develops active TB disease, the symptoms (such as cough, fever, night sweats, or weight loss) may be mild for many months. This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others. People with active TB can infect 10–15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment, 45% of HIV-negative people with TB on average and nearly all HIV-positive people with TB will die.
  • Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to isoniazid and rifampicin, the 2 most powerful, first-line anti-TB drugs. MDR-TB is treatable and curable by using second-line drugs. However, second-line treatment options are limited and require extensive chemotherapy (up to 2 years of treatment) with medicines that are expensive and toxic.
  • In some cases, more severe drug resistance can develop. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) is a more serious form of MDR-TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to the most effective second-line anti-TB drugs, often leaving patients without any further treatment options.
  • In 2017, MDR-TB remains a public health crisis and a health security threat. WHO estimates that there were 558 000 new cases with resistance to rifampicin – the most effective first-line drug – of which 82% had MDR-TB. The MDR-TB burden largely falls on 3 countries – India, China and the Russian Federation – which together account for nearly half of the global cases. About 8.5% of MDR-TB cases had extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) in 2017.
  • TB is a treatable and curable disease. Active, drug-susceptible TB disease is treated with a standard 6 month course of 4 antimicrobial drugs that are provided with information, supervision and support to the patient by a health worker or trained volunteer. Without such support, treatment adherence can be difficult and the disease can spread. The vast majority of TB cases can be cured when medicines are provided and taken properly.

 

“Go Tribal Campaign” by Tribes India 

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it

Why in the news?

TRIFED has organized “Go Tribal Campaign” to institutionalize collaborations and partnerships with different organizations to promote tribal products. The event will cover the following :

  • “Go Tribals Campaign by Tribes India” will be launched under which a number of innovative activities have been planned to be undertaken to promote use of tribal handicrafts, handicrafts and natural products.
  • Global Launch of “Tribes India” through Amazon Global Selling, under which Tribes India and Amazon Global Marketing will launch TRIBES India products globally through Amazon.com. With this collaboration, tribal products shall be available in the US and will help establish export market with tribal products.
  • Collaboration of Tribes India with Central Silk Board for development, promotion, marketing of tribal silk products and empowerment of tribal  weavers.
  • TRIFED joins the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi by introducing Khadi Kurtas and Jackets to its products range in association with “I Am Khadi” foundation.

 

What is TRIFED?

  • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987. It is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India.
  • The aim of TRIFED is to save tribals from exploitation by private trades and to offer them remunerative prices for their minor forest produce (MFP) and surplus agriculture products. 
  • It is also an agency for collecting, processing, storing and development of oil seeds products.
  • The ultimate objective of TRIFED is socio-economic development of tribal people in the country by way of marketing development of the tribal products on which the lives of tribals depends heavily as they spend most of their time and derive major portion of their income. 

 

WholeSale Price Index (WPI)

Paper: General Studies 3

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

 

Why in the news?

Government of India has reconstituted the Working Group tasked with revising the current Wholesale Price Index.

What is the Wholesale Price Index?

  • Wholesale Price Index (WPI) measures the average change in the prices of commodities for bulk sale at the level of early stage of transactions. 
  • The index basket of the WPI covers commodities falling under the three major groups namely Primary Articles, Fuel and Power and Manufactured products. (The index basket of the present 2011-12 series has a total of 697 items including 117 items for Primary Articles, 16 items for Fuel & Power and 564 items for Manufactured Products.)
  • The prices tracked are ex- factory price for manufactured products, mandi price for agricultural commodities and ex-mines prices for minerals. Weights given to each commodity covered in the WPI basket is based on the value of production adjusted for net imports. 
  • WPI basket does not cover services.
  • In India, Office of Economic Advisor (OEA), Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade , Ministry of Commerce and Industry calculates the WPI.
  • The Government periodically reviews and revises the base year of the WPI as a regular exercise to capture structural changes in the economy and improve the quality, coverage and representativeness of the indices. The base year of All-India WPI has been revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12 on 12 May 2017 to align it with the base year of other macroeconomic indicators like the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Index of Industrial Production (IIP). 

 

FASTAG

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Why in the news?

  • All vehicles under category M & N, sold after 1st of December 2017 are required to be fitted with FASTag by the manufacturer of the vehicle or its authorized dealer. To make availability widespread and maximizing existing vehicles to affix FASTags, Government has made it mandatory to affix FASTag for issuance of National Permit (N/P). 
  • A wide number of banks (22 numbers) have been certified to issue FASTag across the country. Further, bank neutral FASTag “NHAI FASTag” have been launched for easy availability at petrol-pump and on e-commerce site Amazon. By adopting these measures, Government endeavours to increase penetration of FASTag substantially and moving towards 100% cashless.

What is FASTAG?

  • FASTag is a simple to use, reloadable tag which enables automatic deduction of toll charges and lets you pass through the toll plaza without stopping for the cash transaction. 
  • FASTag is linked to a prepaid account from which the applicable toll amount is deducted. 
  • The tag employs Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology and is affixed on the vehicle’s windscreen after the tag account is active.

What is RFID?

  • RFID belongs to a group of technologies referred to as Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC). AIDC methods automatically identify objects, collect data about them, and enter that data directly into computer systems with little or no human intervention. RFID methods utilize radio waves to accomplish this. 
  • At a simple level, RFID systems consist of three components: an RFID tag or smart label, an RFID reader, and an antenna. RFID tags contain an integrated circuit and an antenna, which are used to transmit data to the RFID reader (also called an interrogator). 
  • The reader then converts the radio waves to a more usable form of data. Information collected from the tags is then transferred through a communications interface to a host computer system, where the data can be stored in a database and analyzed at a later time.
  •  RFID is similar to barcoding in that data from a tag or label are captured by a device that stores the data in a database. RFID, however, has several advantages over systems that use barcode asset tracking software. The most notable is that RFID tag data can be read outside the line-of-sight, whereas barcodes must be aligned with an optical scanner.

 

Prelims Specific

  • New Space India Limited (NSIL), has been incorporated on 06th March 2019, as a wholly owned Government of India Undertaking/Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS) to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Centres and constituent units of DOS.
  • RBI released its Half yearly Financial Stability Report and stated that Gross NPAs have come down for the second consecutive half year while credit growth has picked up.