Daily Current affairs 23 May 2019UPSC - Daily Current Affair
Relevant articles from various news sources:
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: features, need and significance of the Scheme.
Context: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched ‘Golden Card’ Permanent Residency Scheme in an attempt to woo wealthy individuals and exceptional talents from all over the world.
The “Golden Card” visa includes categories:
- General investors who will be granted a 10 year permanent residency visas .
- Real Estate Investors, who can get a visa for 5 year visa.
- Entrepreneurs and Talented Professionals like doctors, researchers and innovators can get 10 years visa.
- ‘Outstanding students’. These will also be permitted 5 years permanent residency visas.
Key features of the scheme:
Eligibility: It is open to investors and ‘exceptional talents’ like scientists, engineers, doctors, students and artists. As part of initiative, the first group of 6800 investors from more than 70 countries with investments of about 100 Billion Dirhams (USD 27 billion), were being given permanent residency.
Significance: The Golden Card is UAE’s way to welcome all those seeking to be a part of the UAE’s success story and making it a second home. It is introduced keeping in mind that Residents are an indispensable part of country and thus will be permanent partners in UAE’s journey.
Need: Expatriates in the UAE are usually given limited duration residence permits under a sponsorship system.
Benefits: The Golden Card offers permanent residency and unprecedented benefits to cardholders as well as to their families while creating an attractive environment for growth and business. The benefits of PR also includes spouse and children of cardholder so as to ensure cohesive social ties.
Potential: This new initiative will attract greater foreign investment (FI) and activate local economy, making it more efficient and attractive for investors. It will also increase UAE’s competitiveness on a global scale and will reaffirm country’s position as a global incubator.
Sources: Economic times.
Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: need for and significance of the proposed board.
Context: The RBI has decided to create a specialised supervisory and regulatory cadre within the RBI in order to strengthen the supervision and regulation of commercial banks, urban cooperative banks and NBFCs.
Need for a regulatory Cadre:
A series of events including the IL&FS defaults, ICICI Bank loan issue, PNB fraud and the liquidity issues in the NBFC sector in the last two years have increased the concerns.
Complexity: The present structure of supervision in RBI in the context of the growing diversity, complexities and interconnectedness within the Indian financial sector is too complex.
There were complaints that the RBI was lax in the supervisory functions, especially in timely detection of frauds and poor governance in the banking sector.
Increased burden: With the number of commercial bank branches being more than 1,16,000 in the country it would be impossible to cover each and every branch under the RBI’s supervisory process.
Currently, banks follow risk-based supervision which focusses on evaluating both present and future risks and facilitates early corrective action. In comparison, supervision of NBFCs and urban cooperative banks is less stringent.
- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For prelims: about WHA, Astana declaration and SDGs.
For mains: UHC- targets, challenges and measures needed.
Context: Delegates at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva agreed on three resolutions to ensure that the world meets the universal health coverage (UHC) target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
These resolutions include:
- The member countries will decide to take measures to implement the Declaration of Astana vowing to strengthen primary healthcare and achieve universal health coverage by 2030. The declaration was adopted at the 2018 Global Conference on Primary Health Care. This marked the 40th anniversary of the Declaration of Alma-Ata.
- To support community health worker programmes and allocate adequate resources. Such workers should be well-trained, effectively supervised and properly recognised for the work they do. At present there is a shortfall of 18 million in the number of health workers in the world and this could severely hamper the progress towards UHC.
- The member states shall push for UHC with focus on poor, vulnerable and marginalized individuals and groups. This will call for the involvement of governments in coordinating the work required across all sectors to achieve universal health coverage.
Need of the hour:
This might not be enough as primary health care is more than universal health care. WHA should take a human rights-based approach to health for a more just and caring world.
World Health Assembly (WHA):
- The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states.
- It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
- The members of the World Health Assembly generally meet every year in May in Geneva, the location of WHO Headquarters.
- The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
What is Universal health coverage?
- Universal health coverage (UHC) is about ensuring all people and communities have access to quality health services where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
- It includes the full spectrum of services needed throughout life—from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care—and is best based on a strong primary health care system.
- Achieving UHC is one of the key targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Sources: down to earth.
- Issues related to health.
What to study?
For prelims: malaria- free status, criteria, causes of the disease and treatment.
For mains: concerns over the spread of the disease and measures needed to prevent its spread.
Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Algeria and Argentina as malaria-free, with no recorded cases of indigenous transmission of the disease since 2013 and 2010 respectively.
While Algeria is the second African country to be officially recognised as malaria-free, after Mauritius (certified in 1973), Argentina is the second country in the Americas to be certified in 45 years, after Paraguay in June 2018.
Contracted through the bite of an infected mosquito, malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers. It accounted for an estimated 219 million cases from 87 countries and over 400,000 related deaths in 2017. Over 60% of fatalities were among children under five years, and caused 266,000 of all malaria deaths worldwide, according to WHO’s World malaria report 2018.
With 92 per cent of malaria cases and 93 per cent of malaria deaths recorded from Africa, the region had a high share of the global malaria burden in 2017. Four countries in the continent accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide: Nigeria (25 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 per cent), Mozambique (five per cent), and Uganda (four per cent).
To receive WHO certification, a country has to prove that it has interrupted indigenous transmission of the disease for at least three consecutive years.
A total of 36 countries and territories have received this WHO certification. The last case of indigenous malaria was reported from Algeria in 2013 and Argentina in 2010. The certificates will be presented on the sidelines of the 72nd session of the World Health Assembly.
caused by the infectious Plasmodium
Spread: Female Anophelesmosquitoes deposit parasite sporozoites into the skin of a human host.
Malaria is a leading cause of human morbidity and mortality. Despite huge progress in tackling the disease, there are still 212 million new cases of malaria and 430,000 malaria-related deaths worldwide each year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Most cases (80%) and deaths (90%) were in sub-Saharan African.
World’s first vaccine against a parasitic disease: Mosquirix:
RTS,S, known by its trade name Mosquirix, uses antibodies to target proteins presented by sporozoites (such as the circumsporozoite protein of falciparum)to enhance the immune system and help prevent the parasite from infecting the liver.
Mosquirix is also engineered using a hepatitis B viral protein and a chemical adjuvant to further boost the immune response for enhanced effectiveness.
India’s efforts in this regard:
- India’s progress in fighting malaria is an outcome of concerted efforts to ensure that its malaria programme is country-owned and country-led, even as it is in alignment with globally accepted strategies.
- At the East Asia Summit in 2015, India pledged to eliminate the disease by 2030. Following this public declaration, India launched the five-year National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination. This marked a shift in focus from malaria “control” to “elimination”. The plan provides a roadmap to achieve the target of ending malaria in 571 districts out of India’s 678 districts by 2022.
Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative:
Among states, Odisha’s Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative is significant. The initiative aims to deliver services to the most inaccessible and hardest hit people of the State. The initiative has in-built innovative strategies to combat asymptomatic malaria.
The programme is jointly implemented by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).
Sources: the Hindu.
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For prelims: about U20- composition, objectives and functions.
For mains: significance and the need for U20, outcomes of the recent meet.
Context: Tokyo is hosting the second U20 Mayors Summit. The summit takes place one month ahead of the G20 Osaka Summit. This will allow invited Mayors to discuss and approve a communiqué which will be formally presented to the G20.
Themes of Mayoral Sessions:
- Climate Action
- Circular Economy
- Social Inclusion and Integration
- Sustainable Economic Growth
- Gender Equality
Outcomes of the summit:
- Mayors of 30 major cities from across the world have urged the Global leaders to act fast on climate change, social inclusion and sustainable economic growth.
- The issues highlighted by the mayors and city governors are represented in the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals, the deadline of which is 2030.
- It urged G20 leaders to ensure greenhouse gas emissions reduce substantially by ‘30 and reach net zero by 2050, ensure access of adequate housing to all populations.
What is U20?
- Urban 20 (U20) is an initiative developed in 2017 under the leadership of the Mayor of Buenos Aires and Mayor of Paris, and convened by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
- Launched on December 12, 2017 at the One Planet Summit in Paris.
- U20 seeks to develop a joint position and collective messages to inform and enrich the discussions of national leaders at the G20 Summit through unique urban perspectives.
- Urban 20, or U20, aims to tackle global challenges by leveraging the potential of cities as hubs of diversity and innovation.
- Urban 20 is composed of 25 global cities: Beijing, Berlin, City of Buenos Aires, Chicago, Durban, Hamburg, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, and Tshwane.
Sources: the Hindu.
- Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
What to study?
For prelims: geological times scale.
For mains: concerns and challenges associated with the declaration.
Context: A team of scientists have voted to declare “Anthropocene” as a new chapter in the Earth’s geological history- the new epoch. The result builds on an informal vote taken at the 2016 International Geological Congress in Cape Town, and lays the groundwork for a formal proposal by 2021 to the International Commission on Stratigraphy.
What is it?
Coined by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer in 2000 to denote the present geological time interval, Anthropocene has been used to describe humanity’s large impact on the environment.
Implications: The move signals the end of the Holocene epoch, which began 12,000 to 11,600 years ago.
To show a clear transition from the Holocene, the scientists plan to identify a definitive geologic marker or ‘golden spike’, and would be technically called a Global boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP). For this, the group will search for the marker from around the globe, including a cave in northern Italy, corals in the Great Barrier Reef and a lake in China.
To demonstrate a sedimentary record representing the start of the epoch, the team is likely to choose the radionuclides that came from atomic-bomb detonations from 1945 until the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
The International Union of Geological Sciences needs to ratify the AWG formal proposal, before the new epoch can formally be recognised.
Facts for Prelims:
Man Booker International Prize:
Context: Jokha Alharthi, an author from Oman won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for her Arabic novel “Celestial Bodies“.She became the first Arabic language writer to win this award.
Alharthi will share her prize money with her UK-based translator named Marilyn Booth.
About Man Booker International Prize
- It is an international literary award sponsored by the ‘Man Group’, which is the same organisation that gives Man Booker Prize for fiction. It is counterpart to Man Booker Prize for English-language novels.
- It is an annual award, given for a single work of fiction in any language. It is open to books in any language that have been translated into English and published in the United Kingdom in the last year.
- It carries a cash prize of 50,000 pounds (or US $64,000) for winning title, which is shared equally between author and translator.
Summaries of important Editorials:
National security strategy for India:
Context: There have been several attempts at formulating a national security strategy for India. According to some accounts, the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) had formulated draft national security strategy documents on four different occasions and presented them to successive governments, but the political class wouldn’t bite. There has been a lingering worry in the minds of the politicians about a potential commitment trap if a national security strategy were to be put on paper.
Why do we need a National Security Strategy?
- The National Security Council (NSC) set up in 1998 almost never meets, primarily because it is an advisory body, with the Cabinet Committee on Security being the executive body.
- Over the years, the NSA’s powers have increased, even though he is not accountable to Parliament. Even though the NSA plays a vital role in national security, he has no legal powers as per the government’s allocation of business rules.
- NSC should be made more useful. For this, the government’s allocation of business rules should be amended to give more powers to the NSC and its subordinate organisations, such as the Strategic Policy Group.
- The job of the National Security Adviser needs to be reimagined. The K.C. Pant Task Force in the late 1990s had recommended the creation of an NSA with the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
The Hooda document:
It is a comprehensive national security strategy document prepared after internal consultations. The document was prepared in less than two months and in consultation with six key core group members and many domain experts. The guiding philosophy of the document is enshrined in the following sentence: “This strategy recognises the centrality of our people. We cannot achieve true security if large sections of our population are faced with discrimination, inequality, lack of opportunities, and buffeted by the risks of climate change, technology disruption, and water and energy scarcity.”
- On the issue of military jointmanship, it recommends that “the three services should undertake a comprehensive review of their current and future force structures to transform the army, navy and air force into an integrated warfighting force.”
- It argues that it would take “a cultural change in the way the DRDO is currently operating” to improve domestic defence production.
- It seeks to set up a Defence Cyber Agency.
- It highlights the need to initiate structured programmes that bring together civil society members, family groups, educationists, religious teachers and even surrendered terrorists in an effort to roll back radicalisation.