Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 5th September-2020


1)‘The State of Young Child in India’ report:

Context: The Vice President, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today called for a well-strategized collective action on multiple fronts to ensure well-being of young children for India to take full advantage of demographic dividend.

‘The State of Young Child in India’ report, a comprehensive account of the challenges related to early child development in India.

  • The report has been prepared by Mobile Creches a policy advocacy organisation which works with the underprivileged children across India.
  • Ensuring healthy, happy, caring and playful early years for children for their holistic development, adequate nutrition and positive caring environment at home play an important role in a child’s development.
  • The years from birth until the age of five were critical
  • For healthy development, children should grow up in an environment where their emotional, social, educational and other needs are fully met.
  • Educated and healthy people with a good foundation in the early years contribute to the financial and social wealth of their societies.
  • Pointing out that poor nutrition hampers physical as well as intellectual development of children, would make them vulnerable to illness and affect their performance in school.
  • The report, said that of the 159 million children aged below 6 years in India, 21 per cent are undernourished, 36 per cent are underweight and 38 per cent do not receive full immunization. “These figures underline the crucial importance to invest in early childhood for realizing the full potential in later years.
  • Referring to several comprehensive policies and flagship programmes like the ICDS and India’s conscious efforts to meet the international commitments like the UN Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
  • It was important for all stakeholders, including the government, policy makers and civil society organizations to intensify their efforts in ensuring the well-being of the young child through better policies and effective programmatic interventions.
  • Maintaining that the children are our future, “we should take care of them”. The need for uplift of the last man in true spirit of Antyodaya as espoused by Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay.
  • It is estimated that early childhood stunting affects nearly one-in-four children younger than five globally due to lack of nutrition.
  • Under-nutrition and poor sanitation – can lead to developmental delays and a lack of progress in school. For a country, poor early childhood development could mean economic loss. We need to understand the crucial importance of this aspect of national development and take effective steps to ensure all children have a healthy start to their lives.
  • The report also pointed to the insurmountable evidence of the huge returns on investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) at the individual, household and country levels. “Proper nutrition, stimulation and care during the first 1,000 days of life (from conception to the second birthday) has a profound impact on the child’s ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty, and in the process shape society’s long term stability and prosperity”, it was stated.
  • Based on ranking and values on the Young Child Outcome Index (YCOI), the report named Kerala, Goa, Tripura and Tamil Nadu to be among the top performers, while eight states– Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar– with scores below the national average lagged behind.
  • The report has rightly pointed to the criticality of a holistic approach to development, including public awareness and parental education, improved living conditions with access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation and reliable primary healthcare service to make a difference to health and nutritional standards among children.
  • India has made considerable progress over the years in child welfare.
  • The Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) is an important initiative for early identification and intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover 4 ‘D’s — Defects at birth, Deficiencies, Diseases and Development delays including disability
  • Similarly, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) is equally important to ensure protection, education and empowerment of the girl child.
  • The recently unveiled National Educational Policy rightly states that “the overarching goal will be to ensure universal access to high-quality early childhood care and education across the country in a phased manner.”
  • As you all are aware, India has been making conscious efforts to meet the international commitments like the UN Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW), and more importantly the sustainable development goals (SDG).
  • But the challenges are still huge and we need to address them.
  • It is important for all stakeholders, including the government, policy makers and civil society organizations to intensify their efforts in ensuring the well-being of the young child through better policies and effective programmatic interventions.
  • In other words, there should be well-strategized collective action on multiple fronts. Ensuring the well-being of the young child assumes greater importance if India has to take full advantage of its demographic dividend.
  • We must continue to focus our attention on early childhood care and education.
  • Child development should be the foundation of our development architecture.
  • The adverse impact of the pandemic on poor and marginalized families and their children has been quite severe. This is the time for all of us to come to the help of the needy, display collective resilience and overcome the hardship caused by the pandemic. The lessons learnt in this pandemic should stand us in good stead to effectively tackle any future health emergency, especially in regard to the well-being of children and other vulnerable groups


2) Integrated Child Development Scheme:

  • Launched in 1975, scheme is one of the flagship programmes of Government of India and represents one of the world’s largest and unique programs for early child hood care and development
  • The scheme helps to Provide Pre-School non formal education on one hand and breaking vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and morbidity on the other.
  • The beneficiaries under the scheme are in the age group 0 to 6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers

Objective of the scheme are

  • To improve nutrition and health status of children in the age group 0 to 6 years
  • To lay foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of child
  • To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout
  • To achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation among the various departments to promote child development and
  • Enhance the capability of mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.

Services under ICDS

The ICDS scheme offers a package of 6 services that is:

  • Supplementary nutrition
  • Pre School non formal education
  • Nutrition and health education
  • Immunization
  • Health check-up and
  • Referral services

First three services are related to health and are provided by Ministry or department of Health and Family Welfare through NRHM and health system

For better governance in the delivery of the scheme convergence is therefore one of the key features of the ICDS scheme the convergence is inbuilt in the scheme which provides a platform in the form of Anganwadi centres for providing all services under the scheme



Context: The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held through video conference under the Chairpersonship of Russian Federation.

The delegates from Culture Ministries of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa participated in the meeting

During the meeting the discussion was held on the impact of the epidemiological situation on the cultural sphere in the BRICS countries and review of the possible implementation of joint cultural online-projects within BRICS.

The Minister of State for Culture addressed participants of the meeting and presented India’s perspective to strengthen the cultural cooperation within BRICS through alternative mechanisms of sharing and organizing cultural events in online format given the prevailing pandemic situation.

Minister stated “Covid-19 has been a sad experience for us. But it has again showed us that nature does not discriminate among countries. It does not differentiate between people on the basis of caste and creed. Humans have divided the countries and defined borders by putting fences. But culture is the bonding force above all manmade demarcations and connects people through love and harmony. Therefore when we meet through such programs, we come back more enriched than before.”

Some suggestions/events proposed by Indian side in Culture Minister’s address are as below:

  • To explore possibilities of hosting a Digital Online Exhibition on a Shared theme towards end of 2021 under the auspices of BRICS Alliance of Museums. And to extend full cooperation and content sharing for website envisaged under the BRICS Alliance.
  • Opening the BRICS Corner under the auspices of BRICS Alliance of Libraries proposed to be inaugurated during the India’s BRICS Presidency in 2021. The Corner will disseminate information related to the history and culture of BRICS countries. The corner will display the books, periodicals and other e-resources gifted by the BRICS countries, viz, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.
  • The National Gallery of Modern Arts, New Delhi will host the BRICS Joint Exhibition titled ‘Bonding Regions & Imagining Cultural Synergies’ under the auspices of the BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries. The exhibition is proposed to be organized in 2021 coinciding with the BRICS event that India would be hosting in 2021. The exhibition aims to present around 100 works of art from the five prestigious institutions under the BRICS Alliance.
  • At the end of the meeting Declaration of the V Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Culture was agreed upon and signed by all the representatives of BRICS Nations.


  • BRICS does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • BRICS cooperation in the past decade has expanded to include an annual programme of over 100 sectoral meetings.

Salient Features

  • Together, BRICS accounts for about 40% of the world’s population and about 30% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), making it a critical economic engine.
  • It’s an emerging investment market and global power bloc.

New Development Bank

  • NDB is headquartered in Shanghai.
  • At the Fourth BRICS Summit in New Delhi (2012) the possibility of setting up a new Development Bank was considered to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies, as well as in developing countries.
  • During the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014) the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB).
  • Fortaleza Declaration stressed that the NDB will strengthen cooperation among BRICS and will supplement the efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global development thus contributing to sustainable and balanced growth.
  • NDB’s key areas of operation are clean energy, transport infrastructure, irrigation, sustainable urban development and economic cooperation among the member countries.
  • The NDB functions on a consultative mechanism among the BRICS members with all the member countries possessing equal rights.

Contingent Reserve Arrangement

  • Considering the increasing instances of global financial crisis, BRICS nations signed BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) in 2014 as part of Fortaleza Declaration at Sixth BRICS summit.
  • The BRICS CRA aims to provide short-term liquidity support to the members through currency swaps to help mitigating BOP crisis situation and further strengthen financial stability.
  • The initial total committed resources of the CRA shall be one hundred billion dollars of the United States of America (USD 100 billion).
  • It would also contribute to strengthening the global financial safety net and complement existing international arrangements (IMF).



Context: The 11th edition of exercise INDRA NAVY, a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy is scheduled in the Bay of Bengal from 04 to 05 September 2020.

  • Initiated in 2003, Ex INDRA NAVY epitomises the long-term strategic relationship between the two Navies
  • This exercise has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity of operations, and level of participation.
    The primary aim of exercise INDRA NAVY-20 is to further consolidate inter-operability built up by the two Navies over the years and also to enhance understanding and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations.

The scope of this edition includes wide-ranging and diverse activities across the spectrum of maritime operations. Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, INDRA NAVY-20 would be undertaken in a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ format.

  • The Indian Navy will be represented by guided missile destroyer Ranvijay, indigenous frigate Sahyadri and fleet tanker Shakti, along with their integral helicopters. Sahyadri has been presently redeployed to provide assistance to MT New Diamond, which has caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka.
  • The Russian Federation Navy will be represented by destroyer Admiral Vinogradov, destroyer Admiral Tributs and fleet tanker Boris Butoma of the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok.
  • The exercise is aimed at enhancing interoperability, improving understanding and imbibing best practices between the two navies, and would involve surface and anti-aircraft drills, firing exercises, helicopter operations, seamanship evolutions etc.
  • The last edition of the exercise was conducted off Visakhapatnam in December 2018.
  • Exercise INDRA NAVY-20 will help to further boost mutual confidence and cooperation between the two Navies and would reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the two countries.


5) Combined meeting of Defence ministers of the SCO, Collective Security Treaty Organisation CSTO and Commonwealth of independent States CIS

Context: Defence minister made visit to Russia, for the combined meet. The meeting is held in commemoration of 75th anniversary of the victory in Second World War

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to meet his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of SCO
  • The meeting comes amid the ongoing 4 month standoff in Eastern Ladakh after the Ingress of Chinese troops into Indian Territory along the Line of Actual Control at several locations.
  • Peaceful, stable and Secure region of SCO members, home to over 40% of the Global population demands the climate of Trust incorporation non-aggression respect for international rules sensitivity to each other’s interest in peaceful resolution of differences is needed
  • The meeting aims at de-escalating the situation on the southern Bank Pangong Tso

About SCO:

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai (China) by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanisms.

The SCO’s main goals are as follows:

  • Strengthening mutual trust and neighbourliness among the member states
  • Promoting their effective cooperation in politics, trade, the economy, research, technology and culture, as well as in education, energy, transport, tourism, environmental protection, and other areas
  • Making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region
  • Moving towards the establishment of a democratic, fair and rational new international political and economic order.
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2107

Commonwealth of independent States CIS


12 States – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan


  • The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was founded in 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Meetings are held periodically on a rotating basis at the CIS countries’ capitals.
  • Forums include the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Prime Ministers, and the Council of Foreign Ministers.
  • Upon its foundation, members adopted the Alma-Ata Declaration, which confirmed the promise of the former republics to cooperate in various fields of external and internal policies, and announced the guarantees for implementation of the international commitments of the former Soviet Union.
  • Georgia joined the Commonwealth in December 1993.
  • The CIS performs its activities on the basis of the Charter
  • The Charter states that the Commonwealth was formed on the basis of sovereign equality of all its members and that the Member States were independent and equal subjects under international law.
  • The Charter also states that the CIS serves the development and strengthening of friendship, inter-ethnic accord, trust, mutual understanding, and cooperation between States.

The Commonwealth does not have supranational powers. Countries’ interaction within the CIS is accomplished through its coordinating institutions: the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Heads of Government, the Councils of Foreign Ministers, Defense Ministers, Border Troops Commanders, the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Executive Committee (the legal successor of the Executive Secretariat), and the Interstate Economic Committee of the Economic Union.


6) Railways may decriminalize begging:

Context: As a part of an exercise to decriminalize or rationalize penalties under the provisions of the Railway Act 1989, the Ministry of Railways has proposed to decriminalize begging on trains or railway premises

  • The Railway Board has called for comments or suggestions on the proposed amendments to the act
  • Section 144(2) of act says that if any person begs in any Railway carriage or at a railway station shall be liable for punishment as provided under subsection (1) which describes imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with find that makes them to rupees 2,000 or both.
  • The railways now proposes to amend the section stating that no person shall be permitted to beg in any Railway carriage or upon any part of the railway
  • Section 167 of the act says that no person in any compartment of a train shall, if objected to by any other passenger, smoke therein. Irrespective of any objections raised Railway administration may prohibit smoking in any train
  • Whosoever contravenes this prevention shall be punishable with the fine that may extend to rupees hundred.
  • The Railways now proposes to amend this section saying, provided that if the person liable to pay the fine under this section is willing to pay such fine immediately the officer authorised may compound the offence by charging the maximum fine payable under the section concerned and the sum so recovered shall be paid to the railway administration
  • Provided further that the offender against whom the offence is compounded shall be discharged and no further proceeding shall be taken
  • A couple of years ago, the Delhi High Court while squashing provisions in the law that made begging in the national capital of an a punishable offence said criminalising begging is a wrong approach to deal with the underlying causes of the problem
  • The state simply can not fail to do its duty to provide a decent life to its citizens and add an insult to injury by arresting, detaining and if necessary, imprisoning persons who begin search for Essentials of bare survival


7) Kaziranga to be expanded by 3053 hectares:

  • It is a move to consolidate the wildlife areas anticipating better wildlife conservation and reduction in human wildlife negative interactions in the future.
  • The three additions that will be made are Habitat corridor that would help provide connectivity to Orang and Nameri national parks across river Brahmaputra besides the Hills of Karbi anglong to the south of the park where the rhino, tiger, deer and other animals take refugee during the floods.


8) Covidx One:

  • Covidx One – the covid-19 RT-PCR ( Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) test developed by Pune based genepath Diagnostic has received approval for manufacturing and sale in India from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)
  • The CDSCO has given approval to the Bengaluru based Achira labs to manufacture the kits
  • The kit was validated by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad is approved by Indian Council of Medical Research.
  • Gene path’s Pune clinical laboratory had earlier received approval from the National Accreditation Board of Laboratories (NABL) and the ICMR to carry out covid-19 RT PCR based testing in the country
  • This makes Gene Path the first company in India to run an NABL-ICMR approved COVID-19 testing lab as well as to have received approval to manufacture its own RT-PCR test kit.


9) Parole, Furlough not absolute right:

Context: Parole and Furlough not to be given to terrorist, hardened criminals Ministry of Home Affairs to States

What is Parole and furlough:

  • The Delhi Prison Rules 2018,defines Parole as the temporary release of prisoners for short period of time so that they may maintain social relations with their family and community in order to fulfill familial and social responsibility
  • In order to be eligible for release on parole prisoners must show the existence of certain Grounds which necessitate their release such as marriage in the family, illness or death of a family member, damage to property or maintaining family and social ties.
  • Furlough is a release to break the continuity of prolonged incarceration as reward for good conduct, Given in case of long term imprisonment the period of furlough granted to a Prisoner is treated as remission of his sentence
  • The period of release on parole is not counted as a part of sentence and a person has to Spend extra time to compensate for the period spent out on parole on the other hand period on furlough constitutes a part of the period undergone as imprisonment
    The union home ministry said that the release of prisoners on parole and furlough is not an absolute right and should be allowed only to selective prisoners on the basis of well-defined norms of eligibility while asking all the states and union territories to review the guidelines in this regard
  • The ministry said that the terrorist people involved in heinous crimes, riots, dacoity, or those involved in smuggling of drugs should not be eligible for release on parole or furlough It could have an adverse impact on society
  • Prisons come under the state government and decision to release prisoners under Parole or remission in their imprisonment is taken by States on the basis of conduct
  • Referring to the model prison manual 2016 the ministry of home affairs said prisoners who is immediate presence in the society may be considered dangerous or otherwise prejudicial to public fees should not be considered for release


10) Germany launches Indo-Pacific Strategy:

Context: The current European Union President and the largest economy of Europe, Germany launched Indo-Pacific strategy. It was launched with India.


  • The strategy has several indirect references to Chinese behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Germany has also suggested to play a key role in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation and Indian Ocean Rim Association.
  • It will work on maritime safety and disaster risk management.
  • Germany has also exhibited its willingness to cooperate with India and Japan in United Nations Security Reforms.

Why is Germany launching the strategy?

  • Around 90% of the world foreign trade is conducted by sea and a large part via Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  • 25% of world maritime trade passes through Strait of Malacca.
  • Disruption in these maritime routes will affect the supply chains to and from Europe.
  • Millions of jobs in Germany depend on these trade and investment relations. Therefore, it is important for Germany to focus on the security of these maritime routes.

Why is it important for India to gain international support on Indo-Pacific?

  • According to Annual Defence Report of the United States, China has the biggest Naval Force in the world.
  • Also, China is looking for opportunities to expand its foot prints in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • India is already expecting the Chinese to make similar moves in the Indo-Pacific as that of the recent Ladakh standoff.
  • Such circumstances have already created irritants with the maritime neighbours of China in the South China Sea which is condemned by world leaders.

Therefore, it is important for India to get international support to counter Chinese moves in the Indian Ocean Region.

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