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Daily Current affairs 20 February 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair


Explained: Why China is shielding the Jaish-e-Mohammad?

The Topic

  • This article analyzes the role of China in shielding the Pakistan-based terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad's leader Maulana Masood Azhar.


Why in news?

  • Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility of Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir in which a suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF personnel.
  • Since 2016, India has been calling for the declaration of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 but has not succeeded because of China.
  • Backing India's efforts, a new proposal to designate Azhar a global terrorist will be moved in the UN Security Council with the backing of permanent members France, US and UK. However, China's support is critical for this to happen, and China has blocked similar efforts before.


UNSC-1267 committee

  • If a terrorist or terrorist organisation is included in this list, it helps in restricting their movement, imposing financial penalties and assets freeze etc.
  • The Committee comprising of all the 15 members of the UNSC makes its decision by consensus and need consensus of each member.
  • If even a single member opposes a decision, there is no consensus.



  • China has many times blocked Indian proposals to designate Pakistan based terrorists as global terrorists under the 1267 regime.
  • Before Masood Azhar, China blocked India’s moves to designate Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed as a terrorist thrice.
  • However, in 2008 in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks, China under global pressure backed international action against Saeed.
  • In 2016, after the terrorist attack on Pathankot Air Force Station, India proposed to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist but since then, the proposal has been blocked four times by China.


Understanding China’s interest in blocking India’s proposal

  • The reason given by China for its blockade on Azharis that there isn’t enough evidence to designate him a “global terrorist” and in this situation by not designating him a global terrorist China says it wants to uphold the authority and validity of the 1267 regime.
  • However, the analysts suggest the real reasons for China's actions are following:
  • Protecting Pakistan
    • Pakistan is China’s “all weather” ally in South Asia.
    • Moreover, China enjoys overwhelming popularity in Pakistan.
    • Supporting and protecting Pakistan is in the interest of China.
  • Strategic interests
    • China has got access to the sea through Gwadar port in Pakistan, which give China proximity to the oil shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz.
    • This will reduce the dependency of China on the Straits of Malacca and around India, and is contingent on Pakistan seeing China as its friend under all circumstances.
  • China Pakistan Economic Corridor
    • Chinese firms have invested close to $40 billion in around 45 CPEC projects.
    • A good relation with Pakistan for China is like insurance against terrorist attacks on the huge investments in the CPEC infrastructure.
  • Deal with terrorist organizations
    • China’s attitude towards such organisations is that as long they don’t disturb China, it will not harm them.
    • It is an understanding that if such organisations are expanding their international base, the expansion must not be in China.
  • Rivalry with India
    • India is one of the important countries from economic point of view, which refused to participate in the BRI.
    • Moreover, India is a competitor to China and it wants to contain India to South Asia.
    • Thus, by using issues like Azhar and India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, China tries to make things difficult for its rival India.


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Section : International Relation


World Bank, UN, SIDBI launch Rs 300 crore Women’s Livelihood Bond

The News

  • To offer credit to rural women entrepreneurs, the World Bank, UN Women, and SIDBI have joined hands to launch a new social impact bonds exclusively for women, called Women’s Livelihood Bonds (WLBs), with an initial corpus of Rs 300 crore.


Important Terms

  • Unsecured Bond: Unsecured bonds are bonds that are not backed by some type of collateral, i.e. the bond is only secured by the bond issuer’s good credit standing.
  • Over the counter (OTC) Trading: Over-the-counter (OTC) or off-exchange trading is done directly between two parties, without the supervision of an exchange
  • Unlisted Bond: Unlisted Bonds are not traded on an exchange but through the over-the-counter (OTC) market. As they are not exchange traded, unlisted securities can be less liquid than listed securities.
  • Coupon rate: Coupon rate is the rate of interest paid by bond issuers on the bond’s face value.


About Women’s Livelihood Bond (WLB)

  • The Women’s Livelihood Bond (WLB) will be a five-year tenure bond, and will and offer fixed coupon rate of 3 per cent per annum to bond investors.
  • The WLBs will be unsecured, unlisted bonds, which will be raised by SIDBI and placed with leading wealth managers and corporates in the country on private placement basis.
  • The bonds will be backed by a corpus fund to be mobilised through corporate social responsibility contributions and via grant support from the UK’s Department for International Development.
  • The corpus guarantee cover will enable women entrepreneurs to access credit at much lower rates of interest.
  • SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) will act as the financial intermediary. It will channel the funds raised to women entrepreneurs through participating financial intermediaries like banks, NBFCs or microfinance institutions.
  • The funds will be used for lending to individual women entrepreneurs in sectors such as agriculture, food processing, services and manufacturing.
  • Individual women entrepreneurs can borrow Rs 50,000 - Rs 3,00,000 at an annual interest rate of around 13-14 per cent or less.



  • Provides affordable credit and access to finance to enable women to:
    • Scale their business
    • Purchase income generating assets
    • Fund capacity building/ skills development
  • Shift from ‘group borrowing’ to ‘individual borrowing’
  • Shifts development assistance towards more market-financed programmes.


Impact on Women

  • Improved Financial Security
  • Reduced Gender-based Income Inequality

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Section : Economics


Standard mediclaim policy on the cards, guidelines to be framed

The News

  • In order to make health insurance policies more transparent and inclusive, the IRDAI is all set to standardize health insurance policies in the country.



  • Health sector in India is witnessing changing technology and novel treatments. The health insurance policies have to increase their scope in order to keep apace.
  • The health insurance sector in India is clogged with issues including lack of awareness about exclusion lists, claim denial, reduced payouts etc.
  • In this backdrop, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), has prepared guidelines to standardize health insurance policies in India with the aim to:
    • Standardize Exclusion list
    • Increase Transparency
    • Enhance Uniformity and Inclusiveness
    • Make policies Consumer-friendly


Issues with the health insurance products

1. Advanced Medical Procedures

  • The current health insurance policies do not cover a number of novel treatments and medical procedures in case of critical illnesses.
  • The ‘exclusion list’ in most health insurance policies currently incorporates the novel medical procedures such as robotic surgery, hormone replacement therapy, balloon sinuplasty, oral chemotherapy, cyber knife, stem cell therapy, laser surgery in case of cataract, dental treatment and other aesthetic surgeries.
  • This increases the out-of-pocket expenditure of the patient.

2. New-age diseases

3. Life-style disorders

  • As a result of growing urbanization, changing lifestyles and nutrition transition, we are witnessing changes in the disease profile in the.
  • Most insurance policies do not cover these lifestyle diseases such as infertility, obesity and other chronic degenerative, physiological diseases.

4. Non-communicable diseases

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) contribute to 61.8% of the disease burden in India today.
  • NCDs such as hypertension, diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases etc covered under current insurance policies have high waiting periods and thus prove to be ineffective

5. Lack of Transparency

  • One of the major concerns in health insurance sector in India is non-declaration or misrepresentation of material facts in the policy contract.
  • In addition, lack of standard terminologies, ambiguous wordings in the policy contract discourages insurance penetration among consumers.

6. Pricing Mechanism

  • The pricing mechanism of health insurance products is heavily dependent on a number of non-payables including non-medical consumables such as toiletries, cosmetics, administrative costs, room charges etc
  • Further, the add-on features in the health insurance product significantly increase the price of the insurance product.
  • Without the knowledge of non-payables, the consumer end up paying more than expected increasing the out-of-pocket expenditure.
  • This is a major hurdle for health insurance penetration in India.


Guidelines for Standard Health Insurance Policy

  • In order to overcome the aforesaid challenges, the IRDA has released guidelines to be followed by insurance companies in India for designing a standard health insurance policy.

Main Features

Basic Cover

  • The standard health insurance product will have a minimum basic sum insured of Rs. 50,000 and a maximum limit of Rs. 10 lakh.
  • The standard health insurance product standardizes entry-age to cover those in the age bracket 18-65 years.
  • This is aimed at increasing the health insurance penetration in India which is which is less than 20%.

Non add-on covers

  • The standard health insurance product will be a product with basic mandatory covers and no additional or add-on covers.
  • This will standardize the pricing mechanism to a great extent.

Standardize Exclusion List

  • In 2012, IRDA had release a standard exclusion list of 199 products.
  • Now the regulator is set to streamline the exclusion list in order to minimize the items in the list.
  • The exclusion list will have pre-decided list of diseases which are not covered under the product.
  • Besides, the exclusion list will be based on diseases and not treatments.
  • Thus, the ‘basic cover’ under the standard health insurance product will cover novel treatments like intensive care unit, treatment of cataract, dental treatment, plastic surgery due to disease or injury etc.

Enhanced coverage including AYUSH

  • The standard mediclaim product will include expenses incurred on treatment under Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy subject to fixed and standard sub-limits.

Post and Pre hospitalization Expenses

  • The standard product should include pre-hospitalisation costs for a period of not less than 30 days prior to the date of hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation medical expenses incurred for a period of not less than 60 days from the date of discharge.

Incentive to Wellness

  • The product will include incentives to wellness in general.
  • This will be done through free regular health check-ups, disease management, fitness activities etc.


About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority

  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority is an autonomous body responsible for regulating insurance industry in India.
  • It is further entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the interests of the policyholders and increase insurance penetration in the country.
  • IRDA is a statutory body set up under the IRDA Act, 1999


  • Framing regulations for insurance industry
  • Registration of new insurance companies
  • Monitoring insurance sector activities
  • Licensing and establishing norms for insurance intermediaries
  • Regulating and overseeing premium rates and terms of non-life insurance covers
  • Ensuring the maintenance of solvency margin by insurance companies
  • Ensuring insurance coverage in rural areas and of vulnerable sections of society


Note: Students are not required to memorise all the functions of IRDA. It is only for basic understanding

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Section : Economics


Cabinet approves new National Electronics Policy

The News

  • Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019), proposed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).


Background on Electronics Industry in India

  • Electronics Industry is the world's largest and fastest growing Industry and is increasingly finding applications in all sectors of the economy.
  • The Government attaches high priority to electronics hardware manufacturing and it is one of the important pillars of both "Make in India" and "Digital India" programmes of Government of lndia.
  • The National Policy on Electronics 2012 (NPE 2012) has successfully laid the foundations for a competitive Indian electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM) value chain
  • By replacing NPE 2012, NPE 2019 proposes to build on that foundation to propel the growth of ESDM industry in the country.


National Policy on Electronics 2019 (NPE 2019)


  • Achieving a turnover of $400 billion for the ESDM sector by 2025 along with generating employment opportunities for one crore people.

Salient Features:

  • Promotion of domestic manufacturing and export in the entire value-chain of ESDM.
  • Providing incentives and support for manufacturing core electronic components.
  • Providing special package of incentives for mega projects which are extremely high-tech and entail huge investments.
  • Formulation of suitable schemes and incentive mechanisms to encourage new units and expansion of existing units.
  • Promotion of Industry-led R&D and innovation in all sub-sectors of electronics.
  • Providing incentives   and   support   for   significantly   enhancing availability of skilled manpower, including re-skilling.
  • Special thrust  on  Fabless  Chip  Design  Industry,  Medical Electronic Devices Industry, Automotive Electronics Industry and Power Electronics for Mobility and Strategic Electronics Industry.
  • To promote development and acquisition of intellectual property in the ESDM sector, the policy envisages creation of a sovereign patent fund.
  • Promotion of trusted electronics value chain initiatives to improve national cyber security profile.
  • It also proposed “replacing the M-SIPS (Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme) with schemes that are easier to implement such as interest subsidy and credit default guarantee, etc., in order to encourage new units and expansion of existing units in the electronics manufacturing sector



  • The new policy will help making India a hub of electronics manufacturing to serve domestic and the global markets
  • It will enable flow of investment and technology, leading to higher value addition in the domestically manufactured electronic products, increased electronics hardware manufacturing in the country and their export, while generating substantial employment opportunities.
  • The policy will also give thrust to the startup ecosystem in emerging technology areas such as 5G, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and their applications in areas such as defence, agriculture, health, smart cities, and automation.
  • The policy has pitched for 2.0 version of the Electronics Manufacturing Cluster Scheme, under which infrastructure support will be provided for a group of industries that are part of the product supply chain rather than individual industries.

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Section : Economics


Cabinet approves Phase II of rooftop solar programme

The News

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved Phase-II of the Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme.
  • This will give a boost to decentralized solar power generation, which this means anyone with a rooftop solar set up can become power generator in the country.


About Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Programme

  • In line with the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), grid connected Rooftop Solar Programme was launched in 2014.
  • The primary aim was to augment the decentralized solar technology penetration in India.
  • Under grid connected rooftop system, the DC power generated from solar panels is converted to AC, and is fed to the grid.


  • To promote installation of grid connected rooftop Solar Photo Voltaic cells to decentralize solar power generation.
  • To mitigate dependence on fossil fuel based electricity generation.
  • To create enabling environment for investment in solar energy sector by private sector, state government and individuals.
  • To encourage innovation and ensure employment opportunities.


  • In phase-I of the project, projects with capacity of 1-500 kW were eligible for central assistance.
  • The programme was applicable in both urban and rural areas.


Key Features of Phase 2 of Grid-connected Rooftop Solar Programme

Capacity Augmentation

  • The main aim of phase 2 of the project is to increase the solar power generation from rooftop projects to 40 GW by 2022.

Restructuring Assistance to Residential Projects

  • Under the new phase, the central financial assistance (CFA) is restructured as follows:
    • For Residential rooftop projects generating up to 3 kW of solar power, 40% is funded through CFA.
    • For projects with capacity between 3 kW to 10 kW, 20% CFA is extended.
    • For Group Housing Societies/Residential Welfare Associations, CFA will be limited to 20% with maximum total capacity of 500 kW.
  • The total Central financial assistance for residential projects will be extended for 4000 MW capacity.
  • Central financial assistance will not be available for other category of rooftop projects such as institutional, educational, social, government, commercial, industrial, etc.

Incentivising DisComs

  • DISCOMs are the nodal agencies for implementation of the programme. 
  • As a result, performance based incentives will be provided to DISCOMs based on rooftop solar capacity achieved in a financial year. 


Benefits of the Programme

  • Reduced emissions: The augmentation of decentralized solar power will significantly reduce CO2 emission by about 45.6 tonnes per year.
  • Jobs: The programme will significantly add to employment including 9.39 lakh job years for skilled and unskilled workers for addition of 38GW capacity under Phase-II of the scheme by 2022.


Other steps to augment decentralized solar power generation

Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)

  • The government also approved the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) with the objective of providing financial and water security to farmers.
  • KUSUM, announced in Budget 2018-19, aims to add solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022
  • The scheme consists of three components:
    • Component-A: 10 GW of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants.
      • Power plants of capacity 500 KW to 2 MW can be setup by individual farmers/ cooperatives/panchayats /farmer producer organisations (FPO) on their barren or cultivable lands. The power generated will be purchased by the DISCOMs.
    • Component-B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps (for irrigation and water security of farmers not connected to the grid)
    • Component-C: Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps (farmers can sell excess energy for additional income)
  • The support under the scheme includes:
    • Central financial assistance of about 35000 crore
    • Subsidies
    • Bank credit

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Section : Economics

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