Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 24th August-2020


1. Status of Sex Ratio at Birth in India’ and ‘Elderly Population in India: Status and Support systems Reports:

Context: The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today called for a national movement for women’s empowerment and to ensure that no girl child is left out of school.

Reports by the Indian Association of Parliamentarians for Population and Development (IAPPD) in New Delhi today

Summary of the reports: India’s population is expected to grow to 1.52 billion by 2036 (by 25 per cent with reference to 2011).

With regards to delivery of basic services, the country was facing many challenges with 20 per cent of population below the poverty line and an equal proportion illiterate. In this context, there is a need for people to plan their families. Those who follow the policy of small family contribute to the development of the nation.
Political parties and people’s representatives to focus on this vital issue and educate the people

Revival of India’s age-old joint family system, our family system must serve as a model for other countries to emulate.

India’s traditional Joint family system, our elders enjoyed a place of reverence and they were the custodians of righteousness, traditions, family honour and samskara.

He added that in joint families, children enjoy the tender care, love, affection, patronage, wisdom and guidance of the older generations.

Issues of conern: extremely distressed by reports of neglect, abandonment or abuse of the elderly, ‘This is a completely unacceptable trend’, it is the sacred duty of the children to take care of the elderly in their families.

The Vice President underscored the need to reorient our health system to address the specific needs of the elderly by providing medical benefits and ensuring insurance coverage.

Expressing concern that India has been grappling with a skewed sex ratio for a long time, the sex ratio was a silent emergency and had serious consequences that will adversely affect the stability of our society.

While observing that the flagship scheme ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ has undoubtedly created a positive impact, Shri Naidu said that much more needs to be done to change the societal mindset.

Recommendations by vice president:

  • Moral education in schools so that children grow up to be responsible and sensitive citizens who view gender discrimination as immoral.
  • Strict implementation of laws banning female foeticide and dowry, while ensuring free and compulsory education for all girl children. He said that women must be given an equal share in the property so that they are economically empowered.
  • Urging elected representatives at all levels to draw the attention of people in their respective areas to the alarming aspect of skewed sex ratio, every citizen to act as a warrior in completely eradicating social evils like dowry system and in eliminating ‘son preference’ mindset.
  • Stressing the need for rigorous implementation of Pre-conception & Pre-natal Diagnostics Techniques (PC & PNDT) law to bring about a balance in the sex ratio.
  • Zero tolerance towards any kind of discrimination or violence against girls and women.
  • Ensure adequate reservation for women in the Parliament and all state legislatures. “Country’s progress will be hampered if women are not empowered politically”, he added.
  • Stress the need for greater attention from public representatives, policy planners, political parties and other important stakeholders on eradicating poverty, illiteracy and social evils like gender discrimination.
  • Media to focus on issue of skewed sex ratio and the problems of the elderly.



2. India-Nepal relations:

Context: Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma made a friendly gesture towards India By telephoning Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convey greetings of India’s Independence Day.

This is the welcome move, followed by a meeting of India Nepal Joint Project Monitoring Committee. Committee was set up to review progress in large number of bilateral cooperation projects.

An India Nepal joint Commission meeting at the level of foreign ministers is to be held virtually in October Issue of concern is will the will the ministers talk on boundary issues of Kalapani and susta

Unilateral actions by Nepal: Main dispute involving about 35 square kilometres of territory around Kalapani spring was expanded to keep a large wedge ( of Indian Territory towards the east.

Expanded claim was incorporated into Nepal through Constitution Amendment and a revised official map:

  • India conveyed Nepal its willingness to negotiate on the issue in foreign secretary level talks.
  • India should be willing to engage in talks with Nepal on all aspects of India Nepal relations but any talks on the Kalapani should be limited to the area which was original subject for negotiations
  • Unilateral changes will create a very bad precedent in India Nepal relations
  • This Is irrespect of Nepal presenting historical documents on Maps with support its claims
  • Border Which has been accepted by both sides for more than hundred years cannot be unilaterally altered this would mean National boundaries unstable and create avoidable controversies between countries.
  • Nepal’s move: was due to Nepal magnanimity taking into account India’s security concerns vis-a-vis China is laughable, Withdrawl of Indian military personnel from Nepal-Tibet border was precisely to win Brownie points with china.

History: Treaty of Sugauli of 1816 sets the Kali River as the boundary between two countries in Western Sector.
There was no map attached to the Treaty

Nepal is now claiming that the tributary of the river rises in East of Lipulekh pass from the Limpiyadhura ridgeline and hence should serve as the border.

Even if the lengthiest is tributary maybe one principle for a riverine boundary which is itself debatable it is not the only one.



3. Council for transgenders:

Context: Transgender council established as per Transgender personds protectionof rights bill 2019.

About the council:

  • By ministry of social justice and empowerment
  • Union Minister of Social Justice to be the chair person

Composition: Officers from some other Ministries, The council to contain representatives from 10 Central departments, 5 states on basis of rotation and 5 members of the community

Functions of the Council:

  • Advise the central government on the formulation of policies programs legislation and projects with respect to trans persons
  • Monitoring and evaluating the impact of policies and program design for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons
  • Reviewing and coordinating the activities of All the departments
  • Redressing grievances of transgender persons
  • And performing such other functions as prescribed

2013-government set up an expert committee to study the problems of transgenders.
2014- National legal services authority versus Union of India case the Supreme Court of India declared transgendered people to be a third gender
2014- Private member bill transgender persons Introduced in Rajya Sabha
2016- introduced its own will in Lok Sabha, bill did not pass
2019- Transgender persons protection of rights bill 2019: the bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth it includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers and persons with socio-Cultural identities such as Hijra

Key points of the bill: certificate of Identity: states that a transgender person shall have the right to self perceived gender identity, certificate of Identity can be obtained at district magistrate office and a revised certificate is to be obtained if sex is changed.

The bill has provisions that provides transgender the right to residence with parents and immediate family members

The bill mentions that the government will formulate transgender sensitive, non-stigmatising, non-discriminatory welfare schemes and programmes
Provide education sports and recreational facilities for transgender people



4. Impact of lockdown on women’s life:

Problems faced:

  • Inability to access contraceptives and abortion services including unwanted pregnancies, increase in domestic violence and maternal mortality
  • Estimate by Marie stopes International (MSI) said about 2million women missed out on services between January and June; 1.3 million were in India alone.
  • According to WHO, a recent survey of responses from 103 countries found that 67% reported disruption in family planning and contraception services

India’s case:

  • India listed abortions as essential services under the lock down but the disruption of transport services hampered access to centres of care and lack of awareness being available during this period was a factor.
  • Clinic remained closed is one reason for accessibility.
  • Severe shortage of medical abortion drugs in pharmacies
  • The need for contraceptives remains high in India with over one in three women reporting a need for contraceptive advice as per MSI study.

What needs to be done: these services must continue through a measure such as telemedicine incentivize local clinics to open their doors resolving drug supply chain disruptions besides improving access to health care.



5. Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan:

Context: Indian Railways has generated more than 6,40,000 mandays of work under Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan in 6 States viz. Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Railway has appointed nodal officers in each district as well as in the States so that a close coordination is established with the State Government.

Railway has identified no. Of railway works which are being executed under this scheme. The works are related to

  • Construction and maintenance of approach roads for level crossings,
  • Development & cleaning of silted waterways, trenches and drains along the track.
  • Construction and maintenance of approach road to railway stations.
  • Repair and widening of existing railway embankments / cuttings.
  • Plantation of trees at extreme boundary of railway land and
  • Protection works of existing embankments/ cuttings/bridges
    Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan:
  • Duration of the campaign – The campaign will be 125 days long and implemented in mission mode.
  • Main focus of the campaign – The main objective of the campaign launch is to offer financial help to migrant workers who were stranded in other areas and have returned to their homeland. In addition, it shall offer employment opportunities under 25 types of work for the labours.
  • Target group of the abhiyaan – The poor migrant labours are the target beneficiaries of the campaign which will be offered financial help.
  • Total amount given for the campaign – A total of rupees 50, 000 crores have been resourced for the successful launch of PMGKRA.

Which departments are involved in PM Garib Kalyan Rojgar Campaign?

The Abhiyaan is a convergent effort between 12 different Ministries/Departments, namely; Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport & Highways, Mines, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Environment, Railways, Petroleum & Natural Gas, New & Renewable Energy, Border Roads, Telecom and Agriculture, to expedite implementation of 25 public infrastructure works and works relating to augmentation of livelihood opportunities.

1. Rural Development
2. Panchayati Raj
3. Mines
4. Road Transport and Highways
5. Drinking Water and Sanitation
6. Environment
7. Railways
8. Petroleum and Natural Gas
9. New & Renewable Energy
10. Border Roads
11. Telecom
12. Agriculture



6. Nuakhai Juhar:

Context:In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, “The special occasion of Nuakhai is about celebrating the hardwork of our farmers. It is due to their efforts that our nation is fed.

Nuakhai, as the name suggests that nua means new and khai means food. So, the festival of nuakhai is a festival to celebrate newly harvested food by the farmers.

Back ground : Nuakhai festival traces it origin to the Vedic period where the sages or Rishis used to talk about Panchyajna. One among them was Pralambana yajna which means the cutting of new crops and offering them to mother goddess as followed in Nuakhai festival.



7. National Food Security Act 2013:

Context: The Department of Food and Public Distribution under Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has sent letters to States Governments/uts to include all eligible disabled persons under the National Food Security Act 2013.

Section 38 of the Act mandates that the Central Government may from time to time give directions to the State Governments for effective implementation if the provisions of the Act. The Department advised all States/uts to ensure that all disabled persons, who are eligible as per identification criteria of beneficiaries under NFSA, are covered under the National Food Security Act 2013 and they get their entitled quota of food grains under NFSA & PMGKAY

The Section 10 of the National Food Security Act, 2013 provides for coverage of persons under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana and the remaining households as priority households in accordance with such guidelines as the States Government may specify.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Package: economic stimulus package for Rs 20-lakh-crore (estimated at 10% of the GDP), towards building a Atmanirbhar Bharat, or a self-reliant, resilient India.The Package is to cater to various sections including cottage industry, msmes, labourers, middle class, industries, among others. The Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package of the Government of India is for the persons, who are not covered either under NFSA or any States Scheme PDS Cards. Since this scheme would lapse on August 31, 2020

Five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat Package:
1. Economy – an economy that brings Quantum Jump rather than Incremental change.
2. Infrastructure – an infrastructure that became the identity of modern India.
3. System – A system that is driven by technology which can fulfill the dreams of the 21st century; a system not based on the policy of the past century.
4. Demography – Our Vibrant Demography is our strength in the world’s largest democracy, our source of energy for self-reliant India.
5. Demand – The cycle of demand and supply chain in our economy, is the strength that needs to be harnessed to its full potential.



8. ASEEM portal:

Context: In 40 days, 69 lakh seek jobs seekers registered on portal

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has launched ‘Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM)’ portal to help skilled people find sustainable livelihood opportunities. The Portal is expected to improve the information flow and bridge the demand-supply gap in the skilled workforce market.


To Skilled Workforce:

It will have provision for registration and data upload for workers across job roles, sectors and geographies.

It will help in strengthening industry-relevant skills and explore emerging job opportunities especially in the post Covid era.

Candidate data coming to Skill India Portal from various state and central skilling schemes will be integrated including that from Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY), Fee-based Programs, National Urban Livelihoods Mission, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana, etc.

To Migrants: Database of labour migrants in Indian states and overseas citizens, who returned to India under the Vande Bharat Mission and filled SWADES Skill Card, has been integrated with the ASEEM portal.

To Employers: They will be able to assess the availability of a skilled workforce and formulate their hiring plans.



9. Ramesh Chandra panel on sugarcane and sugar industry:

Committee recommended:

  •  Linking sugarcane prices to sugar rates to keep the industry in sound financial health.
  • One time increase in minimum sugar price to Rupees 33 for kilo to help Sugar Mills cover the cost of production
  • Shifting some areas under sugarcane cultivation to less water intensive crops by providing suitable incentive to farmers



10. Portable hospital for covid-19 patients:

  • By IIT Madras
  • Can be installed anyways within two hours by four people
  • Call as medicab, a decentralized approach to detect, screen, identify, isolate and treat covid-19 patients in their local communities.
  • Medical was launched recently in Wayanad district of Kerala



11. Keith Rowly sworn in as Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister:

For 2nd consecutive 5 year term

Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost Island country in the Caribbean

Capital: Port of Spain



12. Spain reports first West Nile virus death in 2020:

  • West Nile virus first discovered in 1937 in west Nile area of Uganda in East Africa
  • A flavivirus from East Africa
  • Single stranded RNA virus that causes West Nile fever
  • Usually found in birds can infect humans and horses
  • Symptoms include high fever tremors, convulsions, vision loss and paralysis
  • Transmitted by mosquito
  • Flavivirus: One of a family of viruses transmitted by mosquitoes and ticks that cause some important diseases, including dengue, yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis, and West Nile fever. Flaviviruses have single-stranded RNA as their genetic material.

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