9 April 2019UPSC Prelims 2020
- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: The day- significance, objectives and background, overview of Homeopathy and significance.
Context: A convention is being organised by the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), an autonomous research organisation, Ministry of AYUSH on the occasion of the World Homoeopathy Day.
Why is it Celebrated?
The World Homoeopathy Day 2019 will be observed across the world on April 10, 2019 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the founder of Homoeopathy, Dr. Christian Fredrich Samuel Hahnemann.
Who was Samuel Hahnemann?
Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, a great scholar, linguist and an acclaimed scientist, is known as the Father of Homeopathy, Father of Human Pharmacology, Father of Nano Medicine and the Father of Infinite Dilution concept in Chemistry.
Need of hour:
There is an imminent need to focus on improving the quality of education and enhancing the success rate of an average practitioner. There is also a need to ensure the production and availability of high quality homeopathic drugs in the market.
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
What to study?
- For Prelims: NIRF rankings, Institutes of eminence scheme.
- For Mains: Higher education reforms.
Context: NIRF 2019 rankings have been released.
Top 5 Engineering Institutions in India-2019:
- Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
- Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
- Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
- Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Top 5 Universities:
- Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
- Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
- University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
- Calcutta University, Kolkata
Top 5 Colleges:
- Miranda House, Delhi
- Hindu College, Delhi
- Presidency College, Chennai
- Stephen’s College, Delhi
- Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi
- Started in 2015, NIRF outlines a methodology to rank educational institutions across the country.
- The parameters used for ranking broadly cover teaching, learning and resources, research and professional practices, graduation outcome, outreach and inclusivity, and perception. From 2017, besides being ranked under specific disciplines, large institutions were also given a common overall rank.
- This year as well, educational institutions across the country were ranked in nine categories – overall, universities, engineering, colleges, management, pharmacy, medical, architecture and law.
Significance of NIRF:
Ranking promotes competition among the Universities and drive them to strive for excellence. The rankings assume significance as performance of institutions has been linked with “Institutions of Eminence” scheme.
What is Institutions of Eminence scheme?
The institutes of eminence scheme under the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry aims to project Indian institutes to global recognition.
- The 20 selected institutes will enjoy complete academic and administrative autonomy.
- The government will run 10 of these and they will receive special funding.
- The selection shall be made through challenge method mode by the Empowered Expert Committee constituted for the purpose.
- Only higher education institutions currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are eligible to apply for the eminence tag.
- The private Institutions of Eminence can also come up as greenfield ventures provided the sponsoring organisation submits a convincing perspective plan for 15 years.
Relevant articles from various News Papers:
- Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
What to study?
- For Prelims: Key features of the white paper released.
- For Mains: Significance and the need for such kind of regulations.
Context: UK government has released a white paper on ‘online harms’. These new rules are aimed at limiting harmful online content. Developing a culture of transparency, trust and accountability will be a critical element of the new regulatory framework.
- In this white paper, the UK government called for an internet regulator with the power to issue fine, to block access to websites if necessary, and to make individual executives legally liable for harmful content spread on their platforms.
- The government will establish a new statutory duty of care to make companies take more responsibility for the safety of their users and tackle harm caused by content or activity on their services. Compliance with this duty of care will be overseen and enforced by an independent regulator.
- Companies must fulfil their new legal duties. The regulator will set out how to do this in codes of practice. If companies want to fulfil these duties in a manner not set out in the codes, they will have to explain and justify to the regulator how their alternative approach will effectively deliver the same or greater level of impact.
- The regulator will have the power to require annual transparency reports from companies in scope, outlining the prevalence of harmful content on their platforms and what measures they are taking to address this. These reports will be published online by the regulator, so that users and parents can make informed decisions about online use.
Why was it required?
Illegal and unacceptable content and activity is widespread online. The impact of harmful content and activity can be particularly damaging for children and young people, and there are growing concerns about the potential impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
As per Online Harms White Paper, Tackling illegal and harmful content and activity online is one part of the UK’s wider mission to develop rules and norms for the internet, including protecting personal data, supporting competition in digital markets and promoting responsible digital design.
Sources: the hindu.
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: About the move, intentions behind, significance and implications on other countries.
Context: President Donald Trump has announced the United States is designating Iran’s elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist organisation.
The move could have widespread implications for U.S. personnel and policy in the Middle East and elsewhere. This will mark the first such designation by any American administration of an entire foreign government entity.
- The designation comes with sanctions, including freezes on some assets and a ban on Americans doing business with the group.
- The “unprecedented” move “recognises the reality that Iran is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.”
- Businesses and banks around the world now have a clear duty to ensure that companies with which they conduct financial transactions are not conducted with the IRGC in any material way.
- The measure would criminalise contact with the Guards and enable the prosecutors to bring charges to those that bring material support to the IRGC.
- Russia and China may start designating U.S. agencies for punitive actions.
- Iraq could be caught in a double bind, as it purchases electricity from Iran, including from entities tied to the IRGC.
- The designation is likely to complicate U.S. actions in Iraq, where U.S. troops work to prevent the resurgence of the Islamic State and where Shiite militias tied to the IRGC operate close by. The IRGC is also tied to Hezbollah in Lebanon, where the political wing of the terrorist group is part of the government.
- The designation puts further distance between Trump’s policies toward Iran and those of European allies who remain a part of the nuclear deal.
The move continues the administration’s aggressive posture toward Iran, which includes U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The administration had previously named the IRGC as a supporter of terrorism conducted by militias it supports, but stopped short of listing it as a foreign terrorist organization in 2017. In 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from the international nuclear deal with Iran.
About Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps:
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was formed after the 1979 Islamic revolution with a mission to defend the clerical regime. It is a military unit originally set up as security for Iran’s clerical rulers.
It has grown to be the country’s most powerful security organization, with nearly unchecked political influence and interests in business, real estate and other areas of the economy.
Sources: the hindu.
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Eutrophication- causes, effects and measures for prevention.
Context: The Periyar River in Kerala has turned black near the Pathalam Regulator cum Bridge.
The discolouration of Periyar and fish kill has been a serious issue for last couple of years. Decrease in dissolved oxygen level has caused several fish-kills in the past few years.
Environmental activists have been protesting against the pollution of the river and demanding steps for its protection. For the record, the pollution of the river system had earlier led to violent protests in the region.
What is the reason for discolouration?
- The discolouration was due to the poor quality of water as a result of eutrophication. When excessive nutrients reach the waterbody, it will lead to algal bloom. A few days later, algae will die and decay, resulting in a foul smell and discolouration of water.
- Water in some reaches of the river system has been stagnant. Reduced water flow in the system has added to the deteriorating water quality.
- Huge quantities of organic load in the form of sewage from nearby townships are regularly reaching the river system. Discharge of untreated effluents into the river from industrial units is also causing discolouration of water.
What needs to be done?
Areas near industrial units are to be regularly monitored. The river flow should not be restricted by closing the bundso that the natural pollutants will flow away from the water. Excessive discharge of pollutants from an unauthorized industrial unit functioning upstream must be controlled.
Sources: the hindu.
- Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
What to study?
- For Prelims: Small Finance Banks- management, functions and features.
- For Mains: Financial inclusion- need, challenges and efforts by the government.
Context: Data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) show that the small finance banks, in total, saw their deposits grow 31.6% in the third quarter (ended December) of this financial year, compared with the second quarter. The phenomenal growth of small finance banks has come on a very small base which is why bigger banks and NBFCs don’t see them as competition yet.
What are small finance banks?
The small finance bank will primarily undertake basic banking activities of acceptance of deposits and lending to unserved and underserved sections including small business units, small and marginal farmers, micro and small industries and unorganised sector entities.
What they can do?
- Take small deposits and disburse loans.
- Distribute mutual funds, insurance products and other simple third-party financial products.
- Lend 75% of their total adjusted net bank credit to priority sector.
- Maximum loan size would be 10% of capital funds to single borrower, 15% to a group.
- Minimum 50% of loans should be up to 25 lakhs.
What they cannot do?
- Lend to big corporates and groups.
- Cannot open branches with prior RBI approval for first five years.
- Other financial activities of the promoter must not mingle with the bank.
- It cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking financial services activities.
- Cannot be a business correspondent of any bank.
The guidelines they need to follow:
- Promoter must contribute minimum 40% equity capital and should be brought down to 30% in 10 years.
- Minimum paid-up capital would be Rs 100 cr.
- Capital adequacy ratio should be 15% of risk weighted assets, Tier-I should be 7.5%.
- Foreign shareholding capped at 74% of paid capital, FPIs cannot hold more than 24%.
- Priority sector lending requirement of 75% of total adjusted net bank credit.
- 50% of loans must be up to Rs 25 lakh.
Facts for Prelims:
Dhanush artillery guns:
Context: The Indian Army has received its first batch of Dhanush artillery guns.
- The gun, which has a calibre of 155x45mm, is the first ever indigenous artillery gun of this calibre, is classified as ‘medium artillery’.
- Dhanush has been designed and developed by the Ordnance Factory Board at the Gun Carriage Factory at Jabalpur based on the Bofors drawings.