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Daily Current affairs 04 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair



1. Monkeypox Scare (The Hindu, Page 11)     


Prelims: General Science

Mains: GS Paper III – Science – Health


Spread and Causes of Monkeypox


About Monkeypox

  • Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests. The monkeypox virus is similar to human smallpox and belongs to the virus family Poxviridae.


  • Human monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then known as Zaire) in a 9 -year -old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968. 


  • Since 1970 human cases of monkeypox have been reported from 10 African countries – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gabon and South Sudan.

  • Outside Africa, the first case was reported from the U.S. in 2003. In 2018, monkeypox was documented in three people in the U.K. and in one person in Israel.

  • Recently a case has been confirmed in Singapore too.


  • Monkeypox can spread to humans from an infected animal through an animal bite or direct contact with the animal's lesions or body fluids. The disease also can be spread from person to person, although it is much less infectious than smallpox.

  • In human transmission, the virus is thought to be transmitted by respiratory droplets during direct and prolonged face-to-face contact. In addition, it is possible monkeypox can be spread by direct contact with body fluids of an infected person or with virus-contaminated objects, such as bedding or clothing.

Natural host of monkeypox virus

  • In Africa, monkeypox infection has been found in many animal species: rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian rats, striped mice, dormice and primates.

Treatment and vaccine

  • There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled.

  • Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox in the past but the vaccine is no longer available to the general public after it was discontinued following global smallpox eradication. Nevertheless, prior smallpox vaccination will likely result in a milder disease course.

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2. Scientists edit chicken genes to make them resistant to bird flu (The Hindu, Page 22)


Prelims: General Science

Mains: GS Paper III – Science – Health


Bird Flu



  • Scientists in Britain have used gene-editing techniques to stop bird flu spreading in chicken cells grown in a lab - a key step towards making genetically-altered chickens that could halt a human flu pandemic.

Technology used

  • Scientists have used gene editing technology, known as CRISPR, to remove a section of the birds’ DNA responsible for producing a protein called ANP32, on which all flu viruses depend to infect a host thus blocking its entry and halting its replication and spread.

About Bird Flu

  • Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infectious type of influenza that spreads among birds.  

  • Bird Flu affects mainly the domestic poultry (chickens, ducks, etc.) and less commonly in animals like pigs. Very occasionally, humans may also be infected with this virus.

  • There are 4 strains that have caused concern in recent years: H5N1 (since 1997); H7N9 (since 2013); H5N6 (since 2014) and H5N8 (since 2016) Although H5N1, H7N9 and H5N6 don't infect people easily and aren't usually spread from human to human, several people have been infected around the world, leading to a number of deaths. H5N8 has not infected any humans worldwide to date.

  • Bird flu spreads to humans who have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments. The virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual.

  • H5N1 infection in humans can cause severe disease and has a high mortality rate. The symptoms of H5N1 infection may include fever and malaise, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. 

About Gene editing

  • Genome editing allow genetic material to be added, removed, or altered at particular locations in the genome. CRISPR-Cas9 is a widely used genome editing method. It has two components.

  • CRISPR stands for ‘clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats’. This refers to the basis of the ‘guide system’ that finds the ‘target’ – the specific sequence of the DNA that is to be modified. 


  • Crops and livestock (e.g. increasing yield, introducing resistance to disease and pests, tolerance of different environmental conditions)

  • Industrial biotechnology (e.g. developing ‘third generation’ biofuels and producing chemicals, materials and pharmaceuticals)

  • Biomedicine (e.g. pharmaceutical development, xenotransplantation, gene and cell-based therapies, control of insect-borne diseases)

  • Reproduction (e.g. preventing the inheritance of a disease trait)


How is it different from swine flu 

  • Avian flu so far has had difficulty infecting humans unless they are exposed intensely to birds, because the virus has not mutated in a way that makes it transmissible by humans to other humans.

  • This virus has origins genetically from both pigs and birds, and the big difference from the avian flu is that this swine virus can be transmitted readily from human to human.

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3. Nilenkani panel suggests 24*7 RTGS, NEFT, elimination of all charges (The Hindu Page 15)


Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy   


Suggestions of Nilenkani panel



This article highlights the important recommendations of "Nandan Nilekani Committee on deepening digital payments" appointed by the RBI.


Important Recommendations          

Target for Increase in Digital Transactions: The Committee recommends that the RBI and the Government plan for digital transactions volume to grow by a factor of 10 in three years. The corresponding increase in value relative to GDP would be 2 times.

Boosting Digital Payments:  All payments from the Government to the citizens such as Salaries, DBT, payments of goods and services etc.  Should be done digitally

Rationalisation of Payments: The RBI should setup a standing committee to review the MDR and interchange on a periodic basis to ensure equitable growth of the market for digital payments.

Acceptance Development Fund : The Committee recommends setting up of an 'Acceptance Development Fund 'to be used for improving acquiring infrastructure at Tier IV, V and VI areas which will ensure optimum utilisation of millions of cards issued to customers, resulting in increased digitisation in these deficit centres.

Promote acceptance of digital payments: In order to ensure that a willing customer is able to do financial transactions digitally, the committee recommends that each merchant support at least one digital mode viz  BharatQR, BHIM UPI QR, or Cards.

Ensure Faster Dispute Resolution: All payment systems operators, including NPCI, should implement an online dispute resolution system that is fast and fair. This system may be used by the banks to handle the customer’s complaints.

Transaction Security: With a view to improving security of the financial system, the committee recommends the operationalization of the FINCERT for oversight, and monitoring security of the digital payment systems

Monitor Progression of Financial Inclusion: The Committee recommends RBI should develop a quantitative financial inclusion index, to measure level of implementation at field and to assess the remaining work required, to take Financial Inclusion to the next level

Encourage Innovation: There is a need to promote innovation in the digital payments to improve the financial inclusion. For example, innovation should be promoted in order to enable digital transactions through feature phones.

Remove barriers for language and accessibility: The technology should be made available in vernacular languages, to the extent possible, for ease in acceptance by citizens of the country. Digital infrastructure should be accessible to citizens of all genders and people with special needs.

Promote financial literacy: The National Center For Financial Education (NCFE) must create standard materials to educate customers on digital payments and services.

Incentivise acceptance of digital transactions: The Government should continue the current scheme to refund the Merchant Discount Rate for small value transactions (under Rs 2000) beyond December 2019 for another two years.

Lower tax on PoS machine: The current import duty of 18% on POS machines be reduced to Nil for a period of three years to facilitate adequate expansion of acquiring infrastructure in the country.   



4. The sum and substance of the jobs data (The Hindu Page 10)   


Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy    


Issues relating to development and management of social sector relating to health.



  • Recently, the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) report has highlighted that the unemployment rate in India stood at 6.1%, which is considered to be the highest in the last 45 years. In this regard, this article highlights that this unemployment rate does not depict the true conditions of the Indian Economy.

  • By analyzing the unemployment levels for different age-groups, the article argues that the higher level of unemployment is on account of rising educational levels and aspirations of young India.


Highlights of the Article

Unemployment rate- Not a Good Indicator

  • The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed by the number of people in the Labour Force. It is to be noted that the Labour Force includes only those people who are either employed or willing to work. It does not include students and homeworkers.

  • The unemployment rate can serve as a good indicator of employment situation in the country as long as the number of people in the labour force remain stable.

  • There has been increase in the enrolment in the education institutions  of the rural-men in the age-group 15-19.This higher enrolment has led to decline in the labour force for this age group leading to higher level of unemployment. Thus, the increase in the enrolment levels can overstate unemployment figures in India.


Rising Aspirations

  • The proportion of population that is unemployed has increased only slightly for the population aged more than 30 while it has increased substantially for younger men in the age-group 15-29.

  • It is to be noted that remaining unemployed is possible only for individuals whose families can survive without their immediate contribution. In this regard, people in the age-group 15-29 prefer to remain unemployed until the time they get a good formal sector job.

  • However, people in the age-group 30 and above do not have the luxury of support from their families and hence they are willing to take up jobs even when they are low paying. Thus, the level of unemployment in this age-group of 30 and above is considerably lower as compared to the people in the age-group 15-29.


Success in Expansion of Education

  • The unemployment rate has been quite higher for men with secondary or higher level of Education which can be attributed to success in the expansion of education without a commensurate success in the creation of formal jobs.

  • There is a higher level of competition for well-paid jobs among the rising population of educated youth leading to higher level of unemployment.


Way forward   

  • Recognizing these important linkages between Education, rising aspirations and Unemployment rate enables us to focus on the problems at hand rather than blaming demonetisation or economic slowdown for the higher unemployment rate.

  • The Government must focus on creating formal jobs that are able to cater to the needs of the educated and aspirational young India.  


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5. Maharashtra plans CCTNS overhaul (The Hindu Page 07)   


Prelims: Governance

Mains: GS Paper III – Internal Security  


Preserving archeological sites


What is the news?

  • State government of Maharashtra in the upcoming monsoon session (begins on June 17) will present a demand of Rs. 50 crore for upgrading the entire Crime Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) project after complaints were reported on glitches in the CCTNS. The project was initiated to connect all police stations in the state.

The need for an overhaul – Issues in CCTNS

  • An internal report of the department revealed that CCTNS network did not perform as per expected as it did not result in improvements in detection, conviction rates and collection of evidence.

  • The report had recommended putting in place a task force headed by the Special Inspector General, Cyber to take corrective steps and also to take some immediate measures including putting in place a database of all accused and FIRs.          


  • CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of Govt. of India.

  • CCTNS aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing through adopting of principle of e-Governance and creation of a nationwide networking infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled-state-of-the-art tracking system around 'Investigation of crime and detection of criminals'.

  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the project in June 2019.

Aims & Purpose of CCTNS

  • Provide citizen centric police services through a web portal

  • Establishing State and National Database of Crime and Criminal records

  • Providing crime and criminal reports at state and centre

  • Computerizations of police process.

  • Processing of FIR, investigations and charge sheet records in a common software

  • Including old FIR in the system

  • Interlinking police stations, state and national data centres through a data network


  • CCTNS is implemented in a way where the States and UTs play a major role. Ministry of Home Affairs and National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) play a key role in planning, monitoring and reviewing the program in collaboration with the State Police leadership. However, the project is implemented at the state/UT level.   







6. Crisis defused – Three language formula (The Hindu Page 1/10)   


Prelims: Polity & Governance

Mains: GS Paper II - Polity & Governance


Preserving archeological sites


What is the news?

  • The clause recommending mandatory Hindi teaching in all schools was dropped from the draft National Education Policy after the Union government faced an intense backlash from Tamil Nadu, as well as protests from some other States.   

  • The revised draft has retained the recommendation to introduce a three-language formula from Class 1 onwards and has removed the clause stipulating the specific languages that students must choose.      

What does the Constitution say about Hindi language?

  • Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with Official Language. Article 343(1) says that official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.

  • Article 343 (2) mentions that irrespective of the fact that Hindi shall be the official language, but for a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, English language shall continue to be used for all the official purposes of the Union for which it was being used immediately before the commencement of Indian Constitution. But as of now, the status quo on the use of English remains.

  • The President of India can also authorise the use of the Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union.  

National Education Policy in India

  • Government of India established University Education Commission in 1948 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, a distinguished scholar and former vice-chancellor of Banaras Hindu University. The aim of the Commission was to report on Indian University Education and suggest improvements and extensions that was required to streamline the education system of India.

  • University Grant Commission (UGC) was established in 1956.Various Indian Institute of Technology was established along with NCERT in 1961.

  • Even after the Radhakrishnan Commission, some defects in the Indian education system remained.  In order to remove theses defects, the government appointed a new education commission under the chairmanship of Dr. D.S. Kothari, the then Chairman of UGC.

  • The aim of Kothari Commission was to advise the government on “National Pattern of Education along with general principles and policies for the development of education at all stages”. This commission among other things, recommended Language Policy. Three Language formula was part of Language Policy.

Language Policy of Kothari Commission   

  • It suggested production of books specially on technical education in regional languages.

  • Regional languages to be made language of administration for the common people to follow.

  • English language to serve as a link language in higher education for academic and research work and also suggested spread of hindi in non-Hindi speaking areas as a link language as per Article 351 of Indian Constitution.

  • It also provided the famous “Three Language Formula” which included 1. Mother tongue or the regional language 2. The official language of the Union and 3. A modern Indian or Foreign Language not covered under 1 and 2.

  • Based on its recommendation, the Government formulated the National Education Policy, 1986.

  • The recommendation on three language formula was merely advisory and is hence not implemented rigorously in all the states of India.

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7. Kerala steps up surveillance to tackle fresh Nipah virus threat (The Hindu Page 08)   


Prelims: General Science

Mains: GS Paper III – Science & Technology   


Confirmation of case of Nipah Virus from Kerala


About Nipah Virus?

  • It is a zoonotic virus (transmitted from animals to humans) and can also be transmitted through contaminated food or directly between people.

  • The virus can cause severe disease in animals such as pigs, resulting in significant economic losses for farmers.

  • Nipah has a wild animal reservoir – bats – and when humans began to expand into bat territory, the infection spread.

  • In 2018, a Nipah virus disease (NiV) outbreak was reported from Kozhikode district of Kerala, India.


Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. India and its neighbourhood- relations.


Quad countries to focus on maritime security


What to study?

For Prelims: Members of the Quad grouping, countries in the Indian ocean region, Chinese military bases.

For Mains: The Quad grouping- features, significance, concerns and potential.


Context: The fourth edition of the Quadrilateral meet among India, Japan, Australia and the United States, after it was revived in November 2017, was held recently at Bangkok, Thailand.


Outcomes of the meeting:

  • India, Australia, Japan and the US have backed Asean-led mechanisms in efforts to create a rule-based regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific, where China is seeking to exert its influence.
  • They held consultations on collective efforts to “advance a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific”. 
  • The meet also referred to efforts to “maintain universal respect for international law and freedom of navigation and overflight”.


The Quad:

  • Regional coalition known as the ‘Quad’, the quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
  • The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.


Significance Quad- grouping for the US:

  • The US believes the Quad, as one of the elements of its larger Indo-Pacific strategy for “a free, open and rules-based order” in face of an aggressive and expansionist China in the region, should eventually evolve into a ministerial-level dialogue imbued with a strong military dimension.
  • But Washington also recognizes that New Delhi for now remains opposed to any militarization of the Quad, which was revived after a decade as a joint secretary-level dialogue in November 2017, with its second meeting being held in June this year. India has also made it clear that the US should not “conflate” the Indo-Pacific with the Quad, stressing the centrality of Asean in the former.



Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest. All four countries share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.

The Quad grouping is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context. Quad should not be seen in any comparative or in an exclusive context.



Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Islamic Cooperation countries (OIC)


What to study?

For Prelims: IOC- key facts.

For Mains: India’s involvement in the organization, need, significance and challenges.


Context: The 14th summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The agenda of meeting was to address ‘current issues in Muslim world’ and ‘recent developments in a number of OIC member states.


About the OIC:

  • Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states.
  • It is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.
  • The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony“.
  • The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
  • Permanent Secretariat is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
  • Like NAM again, the OIC is a toothless tigerwhen it comes to dealing with squabbles among member states.


Significance of OIC for India:

  • OIC’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India has become important in recent times.
  • That India has one of the world’s largest Muslim populations, of course, is the immediate explanation of the surprising invite for Swaraj to address the OIC.


Sources: the Hindu.

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  2. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.


Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)


What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of GSP.

For Mains: How US withdrawal affects India and how should India be prepared for this?


Context: The United States of America (USA) President Donald Trump has terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing nation under the GSP (Generalized System of Preference) trade program with effect from 5th June 2019.


Why has it been terminated?

  • Because India no longer complied with the statutory eligibility criteria.
  • The trigger for the latest downturn in trade ties was India’s new rules on e-commerce that restrict the way Inc. and Walmart-backed Flipkart do business in a rapidly growing online market set to touch $200 billion by 2027.
  • That, coming on top of a drive to force global card payments companies such as Mastercard and Visa to move their data to India and the imposition of higher tariffs on electronic products and smartphones, left a broader trade package the two sides were working on through last year in tatters.



With this, India could lose a vital U.S. trade concession, under which it enjoys zero tariffs on $5.6 billion of exports to the United States.


Generalised System of Preferences (GSP):

It is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories.


What is the objective of GSP?

The objective of GSP was to give development support to poor countries by promoting exports from them into the developed countries. GSP promotes sustainable development in beneficiary countries by helping these countries to increase and diversify their trade with the United States.


Benefits of GSP:

  • Indian exporters benefit indirectly – through the benefit that accrues to the importer by way of reduced tariff or duty free entry of eligible Indian products
  • Reduction or removal of import duty on an Indian product makes it more competitive to the importer – other things (e.g. quality) being equal.
  • This tariff preference helps new exporters to penetrate a market and established exporters to increase their market share and to improve upon the profit margins, in the donor country.


What is the difference between GSP and the usual trade arrangement under WTO?

  • Under the normal trade laws, the WTO members must give equal preferences to trade partners. There should not be any discrimination between countries. This trade rule under the WTO is called the Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause.
  • The MFN instructs non-discrimination that any favorable treatment to a particular country. At the same time, the WTO allows members to give special and differential treatment to from developing countries (like zero tariff imports). This is an exemption for MFN. The MSP given by developed countries including the US is an exception to MFN.


What is the impact of GSP withdrawal on India?

India exports nearly 50 products of the 94 products on which GSP benefits are stopped. The GSP removal will leave a reasonable impact on India as the country enjoyed preferential tariff on exports worth of nearly $ 5. 6 billion under the GSP route out of the total exports of $48 bn in 2017-18.

Removal of GSP indicate a tough trade position by the US; especially for countries like India who benefited much from the scheme. India is the 11th largest trade surplus country for the US and India enjoyed an annual trade surplus of $ 21 bn in 2017-18.


Sources: the Hindu.


Paper 1:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related women.


SDG Gender Index


What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features and findings of the latest SDG Index.


Context: The 2019 edition of SDG Gender Index has been released.


About the SDG Gender Index:

  • Developed by Equal Measures 2030, a joint effort of regional and global organisations including African Women’s Development and Communication Network, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation etc.
  • It accounts for 14 out of 17 SDGs (sustainable development goals) that cover aspects such as poverty, health, education, literacy, political representation and equality at the workplace.
  • score of 100 reflects the achievement of gender equality in relation to the targets set for each indicator. It means, for example, that 100% of girls complete secondary education, or that there is around 50-50 parity for women and men in Parliament. A score of 50 signifies that a country is about halfway to meeting a goal.


Key findings- India specific:

  • India is ranked 95th among 129 countries.
  • India’s highest goal scores are on health (79.9), hunger & nutrition (76.2), and energy (71.8).
  • Its lowest goal scores are on partnerships (18.3, in the bottom 10 countries worldwide), industry, infrastructure and innovation (38.1), and climate (43.4).
  • On indicators that define such goals, India scored 95.3 on the percentage of female students enrolled in primary education who are overage.
  • Some of India’s lowest scores on indicators include the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments. On seats held by women in the Supreme Court (4%), India has a score of 18.2.
  • Gender-based violence
  • On gender-based violence, indicators include proportion of women aged 20-24 years who were married or in a union before age 18 (27.3%).


Global findings:

  • The world is far from achieving gender equality with 1.4 billion girls and women living in countries that get a “very poor” grade.
  • The global average score of the 129 countries — which represent 95% of the world’s girls and women — is 65.7 out of 100 (“poor” in the index).
  • Altogether, 2.8 billion girls and women live in countries that get either a “very poor” (59 and below) or “poor” score (60-69) on gender equality.
  • Just 8% of the world’s population of girls and women live in countries that received a “good” gender equality score (80-89) and no country achieved an “excellent” overall score of 90 or above.


Sources: Indian Express.

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues related to health.


Nipah virus


What’s important?

For Prelims: Nipah Virus Infection- causes, spread and symptoms.

For Mains: Major outbreaks and government preparedness to tackle them.


Context: The deadly Nipah Virus has resurfaced in Kerala. 


What is Nipah Virus?

According to WHO, the Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, that is, a disease transmitted from animals to humans. The virus belongs to a new genus termed Henipavirus (subfamily Paramyxovirinae).

The natural host of the virus are fruit bats belonging to the family Pteropodidae. In 2004, humans were affected after eating the date palm contaminated by infected fruit bats. Pigs can also act as intermediate hosts.


When was it first reported?

It was first identified in 1998 at Kampung Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia. The virus is named after this village.


What are the symptoms in humans?

The symptoms of Nipah are similar to that of influenza: fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems. Inflammation of the brain can also cause disorientation. Late onset of Encephalitis can also occur. Sometimes a person can have an asymptomatic infection, and be a carrier of Nipah and not show any symptoms.


Are there any vaccines?

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

According to WHO, ribavarin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease. Individuals infected need to be hospitalised and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.


Sources: the Hindu.

Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Why CBI needs consent?


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: CBI- Establishment, its functioning, issues related to its autonomy and need for consent in investigations.


Context: Reversing his predecessor’s orders, Andhra Prdesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to go ahead with investigations and raids in the State without prior permission of the State government.



The Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments, had last year, withdrawn “general consent” to the CBI for investigating cases in their respective states. The state governments said they had lost faith in the CBI in the backdrop of its internal turmoil marked by the open war among the agency’s top officers. They had also alleged that the Centre is using the CBI to unfairly target Opposition parties.


What is general consent?

Unlike the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is governed by its own NIA Act and has jurisdiction across the country, the CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting investigation in that state.

There are two kinds of consent: 

  1. case-specific and general– Given that the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a given state only after that state government gives its consent.

“General consent” is normally given to help the CBI seamlessly conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned state. Almost all states have given such consent. Otherwise, the CBI would require consent in every case.


What does withdrawal mean?

It means the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving a central government official or a private person stationed in these two states without getting case-specific consent. Withdrawal of consent simply means that CBI officers will lose all powers of a police officer as soon as they enter the state unless the state government has allowed them.


Under what provision can general consent been withdrawn?

In exercise of power conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the state governments can withdraw the general consent accorded. Section 6 of the Act says, “Nothing contained in Section 5 (which deals with jurisdiction of CBI) shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union Territory or Railway, area, without the consent of the Government of that State.”


Can withdrawal mean that the CBI can no longer probe any case?

No. The CBI would still have the power to investigate old cases registered when general consent existed. Also, cases registered anywhere else in the country, but involving people stationed in states which have withdrawn consent, would allow CBI’s jurisdiction to extend to these states.


What can the CBI do in such instances?

The CBI can always get a search warrant from a local court in the state and conduct searches. In case the search requires a surprise element, there is CrPC Section 166, which allows a police officer of one jurisdiction to ask an officer of another to carry out searches on his behalf. And if the first officer feels that the searches by the latter may lead to loss of evidence, the section allows the first officer to conduct searches himself after giving a notice to the latter.


What happens in fresh cases?

  • Withdrawal of consent will only bar the CBI from registering a case within the jurisdiction of states which have withdrawn consent. However, the CBI could still file cases in Delhi and continue to probe people inside such states.
  • An October 11, 2018, order of the Delhi High Court makes it clear that the agency can probe anyone in a state that has withdrawn “general consent” if the case is not registered in that state. The order was given with regard to a case of corruption in Chhattisgarh, which also gives consent on a case-to-case basis. The court ordered that the CBI could probe the case without prior consent of the Chhattisgarh government since it was registered in Delhi.


Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:


Siachen Glacier:

Why in News? New defence minister’s visit.

Key facts:

  • Siachen Glacier is among of the largest glaciers in the non-polar region of the world.
  • It lies in the Karakoram Range system which is a part of western Himalayas.
  • It also lies to the south of the zone that separates Eurasion Plate with the Indian Plate, which is the result of convergence boundary interaction in geographical terms.
  • The word Siachen comes out of two words: “Sia” which means rose and “Chun” which means anything found in abundance according to “Balti” language. Therefore it represents the place of roses.
  • It is the highest battle field in the world and lies on LoC (Line of Control) between India and Pakistan. It has been continuously contested by Pakistan as its own part which has led to militarisation of the glacier.
  • After the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971, an agreement was signed between the two countries in 1972, which came to be known as the Shimla Agreement, but it failed to clearly mention who controls the glacier.
  • However, in 1984, the Pakistan army tried to enter the glacier, forcing India to launch a military operation known as “Operation Meghdoot” and since then we have control over the glacier. Frequent skirmishes did occur between 1884 to 2003. A ceasefire agreement was signed between India and Pakistan in 2003
  • The glacier is the source of many rivers including Nubra River, a tributary of Shyok, which is a part of the Indus River System.
  • Siachen Glacier also boasts of the world’s highest helipad built by India at Point Sonam, to supply its troops. India also installed the world’s highest telephone booth on the glacier.
  • The region is also a home to rare species of snow leopard, brown bear etc which may be affected by military presence. This has led to talks in international forums about creating a “Peace Park” in the area and demilitarise it.


Mount Etna:


Context: Italy’s Mount Etna volcano has erupted again.

 About Mt. Etna:

  • Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world’s most frequently erupting volcanoes. It is also the volcano with the longest record of continuous eruption.
  • Located near the east coast of the island of Sicily in Italy, Mount Etna is 10,900 feet tall.
  • The mountain’s largest feature is the Valle del Bove (Valley of the Ox), a large horseshoe-shaped caldera on the eastern slope.
  • Etna sits on the active fault between the African plate and the Ionian microplate, which are both being subducted together beneath the Eurasian plate.
  • In June 2013, it was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Due to its history of recent activity and nearby population, Mount Etna has been designated a Decade Volcano by the United Nations.


Financial Literacy Week:

Context: The Financial Literacy Week 2019 will be observed from 3 June to 7 June.

  • It is an annual initiative by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to promote awareness on key topics through a focused campaign.
  • The theme of Financial Literacy Week 2019 is ‘Farmers’ which focuses on how they can benefit by being a part of the formal banking system.
  • The aim of initiative is to create awareness about financial products and services, good financial practices, going digital and consumer protection.



What is it? ‘UdChalo’ is a travel portal that caters for the personal travel of the military and paramilitary forces personnel by aggregating defence fares and getting exclusive discounts.

It aims to empower the disabled military veterans. The initiative is unique and has given a new lease of life of these soldiers who are now confined to wheelchairs.

Summaries of Important Editorials:


NEP on imposition of Hindi:

Context: Following the protests in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Maharashtra, the Human Resource Development has revised draft of the National Education Policy.


What’s the issue?

The draft of National Education Policy had suggested the inclusion of Hindi in all the non-Hindi speaking states in the country. This had given rise to a controversy over the draft version which was seen by many in the southern states as an attempt to impose Hindi on school students.


Recent changes:

The updated draft retains the recommendation to introduce a three-language formula from Class 1, merely having removed the clause stipulating the specific languages that students must choose.

As per the update, the draft says “students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school.”


Issue of three language formula:

  • Ever since the Constitution adopted Hindi as the official language, with English also as an official language for 15 years initially, there has been considerable tension between those who favour the indefinite usage of English and those who want to phase it out and give Hindi primacy.
  • The imposition of Hindi – In Tamil Nadu, it is seen as a creeping imposition of Hindi in subtle and not-so-subtle forms.
  • The tension has been managed based on the statesmanship behind Jawaharlal Nehru’s assurance in 1959 that English would be an associate language as long as there are States that desire it.


What next?

Language is primarily a utilitarian tool. While acquisition of additional tools can indeed be beneficial, compulsory learning should be limited to one’s mother tongue and English as the language that provides access to global knowledge and as a link language within India. It is time attempts to force Indians proficient in their mother tongue and English to acquire proficiency in a third are given up.