IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 04 June2019

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Mandatory Hindi goes out of draft education policy

Topic: GS –II: Constitution and Polity

The clause recommending mandatory teaching of Hindi in all schools was dropped from the draft National Education Policy on Monday, after the Union government faced an intense backlash from Tamil Nadu and protests from other States.

More in news:

  • However, the revised draft — uploaded by the Human Resource Development Ministry in the morning — 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.
  • The revision was not affected by the Central government but by the committee drafting the policy, headed by former ISRO Chairman K. Kasturirangan.
  • Since the original draft was released on Friday evening, all Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have severely criticised the recommendations.

What Changes done?

  • The controversial sentence appeared in Section 4.5.9, titled ‘Flexibility in the choice of languages’. It said: “…students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking States would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking States would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”
  • It has now been replaced by the following: “ …students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to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.”

Kerala steps up surveillance to tackle fresh Nipah threat

Topic: GS–II: Health

 Even as the Kerala government awaits the blood reports of a 23-year-old youth suspected to be infected by the Nipah virus, the Health Department has gone into the alert mode with full-fledged preventive measures across the State.

More in news:

  • As many as 86 people who had come into contact with the patient are under observation. The Health Department was checking the travel history of the patient, a student hailing from Ernakulam district, to trace the origin of the infection. His blood samples are being tested at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

Background:

  • Last May, when Kerala had its first brush with Nipah virus (NiV), an outbreak which took the health system by surprise and recorded a high case fatality rate of 88.9%.
  • This year, when a probable Nipah case surfaced in Ernakulam, there is no confusion because the health agencies had been anticipating.
  • The big difference this time is that the health system has been able to identify the probable index case in the potential Nipah occurrence of the season (subject to confirmation by NIV). The 23-year-old youth, currently isolated in an ICU at a private hospital in Kochi, is in all likelihood the “index case”, defined as the patient in an outbreak to be first noticed by health authorities.
  • When Nipah struck last year, though the health system managed to identify the infectious agent in the second case and launched control measures, the infection had spread.
  • Post-Nipah last year, outbreak monitoring units were set up in all medical colleges in the State.
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).

Which animals can spread the disease?

·         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 it was 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.

Individuals infected need to be hospitalized 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.

Ajit Doval reappointed NSA with Cabinet rank

Topic: GS –II: Constitution and Polity

The government reappointed retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ajit Doval as National Security Adviser (NSA), according him a Cabinet rank. He becomes the first NSA to get Cabinet status in the table of precedence.

  • In his previous stint as an NSA, he had the stature of a Minister of State (MoS).

Why this step?

  • According to one official, the decision was taken since Mr. Doval leads strategic dialogues with many countries and a Cabinet rank would facilitate his interactions with the most senior officials. A case in point is China, where there has been a mismatch between him and the Special Representative for boundary talks, who is normally a State councillor of Cabinet rank. China had raised discomfort about the mismatch
  • His [Doval’s] appointment will be co-terminus with the term of the Prime Minister or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • The NSA’s post was first created in 1998 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
National Security Advisor

·         The National Security Adviser is the senior official on the National Security Council (NSC) of India, and the chief adviser to the Prime Minister of India on national and international security policy.

·         The National Security Adviser (NSA) is tasked with regularly advising the Prime Minister of India on all matters relating to internal and external threats and opportunities to India, and oversees strategic and sensitive issues on behalf of the Prime Minister. The NSA of India also serves as the Prime Minister’s Special Interlocutor with China as well as the envoy to Pakistan and Israel on security affairs. He can be seen frequently accompanying the Prime Minister on official and State visits.

·         The NSA receives all intelligence reports and co-ordinates them to present before the Prime Minister.

·         Brajesh Mishra was appointed the first National Security Adviser of India.

·         The post was created on 19 November 1998 by the Government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and has become increasingly influential and powerful over the years with the rise of India on the world stage.

·         The National Security Advisor (India) is now the most powerful bureaucrat in the Government of India.

India slams OIC for naming Special Envoy on Kashmir

Topic: GS –II: International relations

India on Monday slammed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation after it announced a Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir.

More in news:

  • The Ministry of External Affairs said that the organisation had no right to interfere in India’s internal affairs.
  • “We categorically reject yet another unacceptable reference to matters internal to India in the Final Communiqué adopted at the conclusion of the 14th Islamic Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States held at Makkah, Saudi Arabia on 31 May 2019,” said an MEA spokesperson in response after the OIC appointed Yousef Aldobeah of Saudi Arabia as the Special Envoy.
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

·         It is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states, with a collective population of over 1.8 billion as of 2015 with 53 countries being Muslim-majority countries.

·         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. The official languages of the OIC are Arabic, English, and French.

‘UdChalo’ to give a new lease of life to wounded soldiers

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice  

In a bid to make wounded soldiers, who are now confined to wheelchairs, self-reliant, an initiative ‘UdChalo’ is all set to take off at the Army’s Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) in Punjab’s Mohali.

About “UdChalo”

  • 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.
  • The PRC has joined hands with UdChalo with an aim to empower the disabled military veterans.

Institutionalised care

  • The initiative is unique and has given a new lease of life of these soldiers who are now confined to wheelchairs. PRC provides institutionalised care to soldiers, who are wounded in military or insurgency operations and can’t adequately provide for themselves the constant medical care associated with quadriplegia and paraplegia. Currently, PRC has 31 ex-servicemen from across the country.

Manufacturing sector PMI gains in May

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

The country’s manufacturing sector performance gained momentum in May as companies lifted output amid strengthening demand conditions, leading to further job creation in the sector, a monthly survey said on Monday.

More in news:

  • The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, improved to 52.7 in May from 51.8 in April, pointing to the strongest improvement in the health of the sector in three months. This is the 22nd consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI has remained above the 50-point mark.
  • In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI):

·         It is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector.

·         The PMI is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.

·         The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current business conditions to company decision makers, analysts and purchasing managers.

·         It derived from monthly surveys of private sector companies.

·         The data for the index are collected through a survey of 400 purchasing managers in the manufacturing sector on different fields, namely, production level, new orders from customers, speed of supplier deliveries, inventories, order backlogs and employment level. Respondents can report better, same or worse conditions than previous months. For all these fields the percentage of respondents that reported better conditions than the previous months is calculated. The percentages are multiplied by a weighing factor (the factors adding to 1) and are added.

PMI for India

·         For India, the PMI Data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei but compiled and constructed by Markit Economics (for the US, it is the ISM).

·         The variables used to construct India’s PMI for manufacturing sector are: Output, New Orders, Employment, Input Costs, Output Prices, Backlogs of Work, Export Orders, Quantity of Purchases, Suppliers‟ Delivery Times, Stocks of Purchases and Stocks of Finished Goods.

·         Similar variables are used for the construction of services PMI.

·         A manufacturing PMI and a services PMI are prepared and published by the two.

·         The PMI is very closely watched, as it shows the investor sentiment in an economy’s manufacturing sector. In terms of composition, we can say the PMI is a sentiment tracking index.

PMI and IIP

·         The popular index that measures growth in the industrial sector as far as India is concerned is the CSO prepared Index of Industrial Production.

·         IIP shows the change in production volume in major industrial subsectors like manufacturing, mining and electricity. Similarly, the IIP also gives use based (capital goods, consumer goods etc) trends in industrial production. It covers broader industrial sector compared to PMI. But compared volume based production indicator like the IIP, the PMI senses dynamic trends because of the variable it uses for the construction of the index.

·         For example, new orders under PMI show growth oriented positive trends and not just volume of past production that can be traced in an ordinary Index of Industrial Production. Inventory level shows recessionary or boom trends. Employment scenario is also sentimental indicator. Thus according to some experts, the PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.

Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019 to have 27 Indian entrants

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

The ninth edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit is all set to roll out in on Tuesday (June 4), with a number of entrepreneurs from across the world, including 27 from India, gathering to share their insights and showcase their ideas on a world stage.

GES 2019

  • The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2019 is being hosted by the governments of the United States of America and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and is the first edition of the event to be held in the European Union.
  • Overall, the summit will feature about 1,200 entrepreneurs from across 140 countries, and will also provide an avenue for these entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and work to 300 investors.
  • The key focus areas of the summit include the five global challenges surrounding water, agriculture, healthcare, connectivity, and energy.
  • The theme of GES 2019 is The Future Now: bringing the right people together for GES 2019 can lead to solutions now, while creating road maps to future economic activity where innovation can deliver solutions to global challenges and create economic prosperity.

GES 2017

  • The GES 2017 event in India in November of that year in Hyderabad hosted more than 1,500 entrepreneurs from around the world, and focussed on the issue of ‘Women First, Prosperity for All’.
  • It was the first edition of the GES to take place in South Asia, and more than 50% of the delegates at the event were women.
  • Twenty seven Indian firms are taking part in GES 2019 across the subject areas of agriculture (3), water (8), energy (6), healthcare (3), and connectivity (7).
  • (The correspondent is in The Hague at the invitation of Foreign Press Center, U.S. Department of State)

State plans ₹50-crore CCTNS overhaul

Topic: GS -III: Security

The Maharashtra government has decided to upgrade the entire Crime Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) project, following complaints of glitches in the system.

More in news:

  • The project was unveiled in September 2015 to connect all police stations in the State. Since January 1, 2016, several police stations were registering first information reports (FIRs) digitally on the system, making its database retrievable.
  • An internal report of the department had found the system 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. The report also recommended some immediate measures for this task force, such as putting in place a database of all accused and FIRs.
Crime & Criminal Tracking Network and Systems

·         The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS) was conceptualized by the Ministry of Home Affairs in detailed consultation with all stakeholders and is being implemented as a “Mission Mode Project (MMP)” since 2009.

·         CCTNS aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effective policing at all levels and especially at the Police Station level through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state of- the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals” in real time, which is a critical requirement in the context of the present day internal security scenario.

Objectives

·         Provide Citizen Centric Police Services via a web portal

·         Pan India search on National database of Crime & Criminal records

·         Crime and Criminal reports at State and Center

·         Computerization of Police Processes

Scope of coverage

·         The scope of CCTNS spans all 35 States and Union Territories and covers all Police Stations (15,000+ in number) and all Higher Police Offices (6,000+ in number) in the country.

·         The CCTNS project includes vertical connectivity of police units (linking police units at various levels within the States – police stations, district police offices, state headquarters, SCRB and other police formations – and States, through state headquarters and SCRB, to NCRB at GOI level) as well as horizontal connectivity, linking police functions at State and Central level to external entities.

Benefits of CCTNS

Benefits to Police Department

·         Enhanced tools for investigation.

·         Centralized crime and criminal information repository along with the criminal images and fingerprints with advanced search capabilities.

·         Enhanced ability to analyze crime patterns and/ or modus operandi

·         Enhanced ability to analyze road incidents and other accidents.

·         Faster turnaround time for the analysis results (criminal and traffic) to reach the officers on the field.

·         Reduced workload for the police stations back-office activities such as preparation of regular and ad-hoc reports and station records management.

·         A collaborative knowledge-oriented environment where knowledge is shared across different regions and units.

·         Better co-ordination and communication with external stakeholders through implementation of electronic information exchange systems.

Benefits to Ministry of Home Affairs (NCRB)

·         Standardized means of capturing the crime and criminal data across the police stations in the country.

·         Faster and easier access to crime and criminal information across the country in a manner amenable for trend and pattern analysis.

·         Enhanced ability to detect crime patterns through modus operandi across the States/UTs and communicate to the state police departments for aiding in crime prevention.

·         The ability to respond faster and with greater accuracy to inquiries from the parliament, citizens and citizens groups; and to RTI queries.

·         Easy and low-cost scalability of crime and criminal systems in the future.

Benefits to Citizens

·         Multiple channels to access services from police.

·         Simplified process for registering petitions.

·         Simplified process for accessing general services such as requests for certificates, verifications, and permissions.

·         Simplified process and accurate means of tracking the progress of the case during trials.

·         Simplified and accurate access to view/report unclaimed/recovered vehicles and property.

·         Simplified process and channel for grievance registration.

·         Improved relationship management for victims and witnesses.

·         Faster and assured response from police to any emergency calls for assistance.

Mutation that protects against HIV raises death rate

Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

People with a DNA mutation that reduces their chance of HIV infection may die sooner, according to a study that suggests tinkering with a gene to try to fix one problem may cause others.

More findings:

  • The study authors cited the case of the Chinese researcher who tried to produce this mutation in twin girls before their birth, to reduce their risk for HIV.

Heightens risk

  • The gene is called CCR5. When it is working normally, it lets certain cells of the immune system display a protein on their surfaces. HIV has co-opted that protein to use as a doorway to infect those cells. The mutation prevents that protein from appearing, and so reduces the risk of HIV infection.
  • About 4,000 participants carried the mutation in both copies, of whom 151 were dead. Analysis focused on deaths between ages 41 and 76.
  • The study found that participants with the mutation in both copies had a death rate about 20% higher than that of the others. A second analysis showed that at the time participants signed up for the databank, when their average age was about 57, there were fewer people with the mutation in both copies of the gene than one would expect. That’s another sign of a higher death rate.

News in brief:

Operation Blizzard

 A coordinated global police operation rescued thousands of live snakes, lizards and geckos and stopped some 20 crocodiles and alligators from becoming high-end fashion products.

  • During “Operation Blizzard”, police from 22 countries, including the European Union, Australia, South Africa and the U.S., targeted the illegal reptile trade between mid-April to May 22. Twelve suspects were arrested.
  • Globally, police seized 4,419 live animals including 2,703 turtles and tortoises, 1059 snakes, 512 lizards and geckos and 20 crocodiles and alligators.
  • Authorities also confiscated 152 handbags, wallets, watchstraps, medicines and taxidermies.

New committee to Assess methodology of groundwater recharge

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a committee to take groundwater samples to assess the methodology used in recharging it.

  • The directions came following a plea which alleged that steps undertaken by government agencies were “unscientific”.
  • It directed a committee comprising officials from the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Central Ground Water Board to furnish the report within a month.
  • The directions came when the green panel was hearing a plea moved by city resident Mahesh Chandra Saxena that alleged unscientific recharge of groundwater by government agencies were leading to contamination.

Editorial section:

 A rocky road for strategic partners –The Hindu

Crisis defused –The Hindu

The sum and substance of the jobs data –The Hindu

The changing idea of a university –The Hindu

Monkeypox scare –The Hindu

 

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