UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS| PRELIMS & MAINS | 4th May 2020

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IASbhai DAILY UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS  (THE HINDU+LIVEMINT+PIB)

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Daily Current Affairs for UPSC is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS2020.

You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events.– Joel Osteen

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

African swine fever

      HEADLINES:

African swine fever: Assam told to go for culling

      WHY IN NEWS:

Disease first reported in Nov.: Minister

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Diseases

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS we have mentioned everything ! Symptoms , Effects , Cause,Transmission  and Treatment . Dive in now !

For MAINS what are the combined measures to be taken for COVID-19 and this disease such that a greater population should be at minimal risk ! Let the ink of your pen flow on these thoughts.

      ISSUE: 

Assam Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister Atul Bora on Sunday said the Centre has advised the State government to go for the culling of pigs affected by the African swine fever (ASF).

 

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER:

African swine fever is a viral disease of pigs and wild boar that is usually deadly. There are neither vaccines nor cures. For this reason, it has serious socio-economic consequences in affected countries. Humans are not susceptible to the disease.

SYMPTOMS:

  • The typical signs of African swine fever are similar to classical swine fever, and the two diseases normally have to be distinguished by laboratory diagnosis.
  • Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, lack of energy, abortions, internal bleeding, with haemorrhages visible on the ears and flanks. Sudden death may occur.
  • Severe strains of the virus are generally fatal (death occurs within 10 days).
  • Animals infected with mild strains of African swine fever virus may not show typical clinical signs.

TRANSMISSION AND SPREAD

Healthy pigs and boar usually become infected by:

  • Contact with infected animals. EX: pigs and wild boar.
  • Ingestion of meat or kitchen waste, swill feed, infected wild boar .
  • Contact with anything contaminated by the virus such as clothing, vehicles and other equipment.
  • Bites by infectious ticks.
  • Movement of infected animals
  • Contaminated pork products
  • Illegal disposal of carcasses are the most significant means of spread of the disease.

WHERE IS IT FOUND?

  • African swine fever is endemic in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In Europe, it has been endemic in Sardinia for several decades.
  • In 2007 outbreaks occurred in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the European part of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

OUTBREAKS :

  • Russia and Belarus (first case )-January 2014.
  • Poland Latvia and Estonia – By September 2014
  • By 2019 – Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Veterinary officials said a few organised piggeries have been affected and the possible carrier could be humans.

  • Pigs in the eastern part of Assam started dying in mid-April.
  • “On the brighter side, the rate of infection has flattened a bit in the past couple of days.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

COVID-19 testing in India hits 1 mln

      HEADLINES:

COVID-19 testing in India hits 1 mln

      WHY IN NEWS:

Country has ramped up its testing facilities

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS go through the windup !

For MAINS what are your thoughts on lessons learnt after 1 million testing in India ?

      ISSUE: 

MILESTONE ACHIEVED :

These are the RT-PCR tests which are the gold standard for diagnosing the disease.

Photo: Flickr

  • So far, 37,776 people have tested positive.
  • South Korea, which is being lauded for managing the pandemic well, depended extensively on these tests.

Availability of test kits is a major problem as these have to be imported, mainly from China and South Korea.

  • As of May 1, 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research has validated a total of 45 RT-PCR kits.
  • The testing kits developed in India are much cheaper — Rs 1,000 compared to Rs 4,500 when imported — than the ones that need to be imported.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The India companies include Ahmedabad-based CoSara, that was the first one to get the licence.
  • Meanwhile, researchers at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology under the Department of Science and Technology have developed two types of nasal and oral swabs and viral transport medium for COVID-19 testing too.
  • The kits containing 50 vials of viral transport medium with 50 swabs would cost around Rs 12,000. These are considered to be the biggest limiting factors to increasing the number of tests.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

COVID-19 and the State of Labour

      HEADLINES:

COVID-19 and the State of Labour: Current Practices Must Be Rectified In Order to Prepare for the Economic Aftermath

      WHY IN NEWS:

This issue is from EPW !

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS  2:3:DPSP : Labour

      LEARNING: 

For MAINS you have to understand the plight of the marginalised community , the demand for minimum wages and finally Right to Work !

      CONTEXT: 

REVERSE CAPITAL FLOW :

“This makes the Great Lockdown the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis.”-Gita Gopinath

  • Moreover, she adds that emerging markets and developing economies will face the additional challenges of reversals in capital flows as global risk appetites plummet and currency pressures increase.
  • This will be exacerbated by weak health systems and high debt levels.
  • Neo-liberal policies do not directly address labour and employment in the sense that these factors are not at their core.

THE PLIGHT OF LABOUR :

The social composition of the construction industry itself was constitutive of 28.70% Dalits and 23.70% Adivasis.
  • The economic distress was further exacerbated by rising domestic conflict, violence and depression, the burden for which was disproportionately felt by women and children.
  • During the crisis, workers in general tried to adjust to the wage loss and consequent income fall by spending less on their physical as well as social life.
  • In the initial phase, workers trimmed spending on their social life, followed by a reduction in expenditure on health and education.
  • As the crisis continued, they were compelled to reduce even the quantity of food intake.
On top of all this there was the economic distress-driven domestic conflict, violence and depression, the brunt of which fell mostly on women and children.

 CURRENT LABOUR WAGES IN INDIA :

  • Nivedita Jayaram notes that the Labour Code on Wages Act (or the Wage Code) enacted in August 2019, though hailed as a landmark act codifying India’s four wage-related laws into one piece of legislation, remains a paper tiger on closer examination.
  • In fact, the new version of the Wage Code has further omitted or diluted critical provisions of previous legislations.

ECONOMIC SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS  2018-19  : 

One in three wage workers are not protected by the minimum wage laws due to faulty enforcement mechanisms.

  • Of these waged workers, two-thirds are casual workers and represent the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the country.
  • In such a scenario, the Wage Code has made definitions unclear by leaving much of it to the discretion of government authorities or the interpretation of judicial bodies.
  • For example, the methodology for setting minimum wages has neither been defined nor outlined.
  • This also means that there is no clarity as to which authority is responsible for setting the minimum wage.

MINIMUM WAGE CODE :

  • The Wage Code merely states that a floor minimum wage may be set by the central government either at the national level or regional levels, and that state governments may set minimum wages at the state level.
  • The danger of using ambiguous language for establishing minimum wages was revealed in the government’s recent announcement, which set the national floor for the minimum wage under the Wage Code, at a mere Rs 178.
The amount has been referred to as the “starvation wage,” and it is only Rs 2 higher than the previous national minimum wage, which was set two years ago.

IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY ON WAGES :

The point of content as mills acquire sophistication, and perhaps vulnerability, is the permanency of the worker.

  • The policy of increasing wages in India should provide for noninflationary methods of wage payments.
  • In practice, trade unions are very sensitive to the wage rate.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  LABOUR ACTIVISM :

  • This is a radical reversal of the general 20th century notion of labour where the worker works for eight hours within the factory gates, after which (s)he reproduces her life within the family.
  • The blurring of the distinction between the home and the workshop implies that labour activism must face up to the new conditions of labour that home-based production brings to the fore and a potentially new subjectivity of labour shaped by such conditions.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

COVID-19 :  Domestic Abuse and Violence

      HEADLINES:

COVID-19, Domestic Abuse and Violence: Where Do Indian Women Stand?

      WHY IN NEWS:

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced several countries into a lockdown, cases of domestic violence rose at an alarming pace all over the world.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      LEARNING: 

For MAINS understand the various dimensions to this social setup ! Draw some meaningful conclusions .

  • Who is more vulnerable and why ?
  • Any possible solutions right ahead ?
  • Why this issue is a global issue ?

      ISSUE: 

There are many dimensions to domestic violence, including the gendered division of domestic work, all of which are rooted in the exercise of patriarchal power

ALARMING CASES :

  • On 6 April 2020, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a “ceasefire” to address the “horrifying global surge in domestic violence.”
  • According to sociologist Marianne Hester, “domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together, such as the Christmas and summer vacations.”
  • The number of domestic violence complaints received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) had doubled.
  • From 30, in the first week of March, the number of complaints rose to 69 between 23 March and 1 April.
  • As complaints surged, the NCW announced a WhatsApp number to receive complaints, to be more accessible to women who find themselves in abusive homes.
With almost 57% of the women in India not having access to phones, their options for registering complaints under the lockdown are now limited.

FAMILY AS THE PRIMARY SITE OF ABUSE :

  • It is surprising to know that lack of academic work done on violence against women in India, even though there was no dearth of statistics.
  • Where the reason for this silence is attributed to patriarchal family structures and the idea of honour.

THE MOST VULNERABLE—DALIT WOMEN :

Dalit women are used to working outside the home and their labour is considered crucial for the survival of the family,” and more often than not, the home runs on her income.
  • Despite that, she found that the Dalit women were subordinated in terms of power relations to men, both in terms of patriarchy and caste hierarchy.
  • “The everyday discrimination against Dalit women, “is further marked by mental, emotional and physical violence by their spouses and other family members.”

THE USELESSNESS OF THE LAW :

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA or Domestic Violence Act) was enacted in 2005.

THE IMPACT ON WOMEN’S HEALTH AND RIGHTS :

  • Violence against women, and particularly domestic violence, forms a vicious cycle that keeps women subordinated and disempowered.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

They found domestic violence to be alarmingly common in the Indian society, where the chances for the woman to overcome her circumstances are limited because, unlike many developed countries, fewer women are able to access help and take counselling, which leads to extensive obstetric complications and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The authors add that intimate partner violence combating strategies also need to consider its root causes, that is, the powerlessness and subordination of women in households.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

126 lakh tonnes of food grains given to States: FCI

      HEADLINES:

126 lakh tonnes of food grains given to States: FCI

      WHY IN NEWS:

This is almost equal to two-and-a-half months’ supply in normal situations

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Food Security

      ISSUE: 

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has supplied around 126 lakh tonnes of food grains, almost equivalent to two-and-a half months’ supply in normal situations, to States and Union Territories during COVID-19 lockdown.

  • Of the five zones in the country, the northern zone was given the maximum of 39.95 lakh tonnnes; southern zone29.18 lakh tonnes, followed by the east28.33 lakh tonnes; west23.03 lakh tonnes and the northeast – 5.63 lakh tonnes.
  • What has contributed to the steep hike in the disbursal is the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY), under which beneficiaries of the NFSA are given 5 kg of food grains each per month free of cost for three months (April – June) over and above their monthly entitlement of 5 kg per person.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

ENOUGH STOCK

  • Nearly 62 lakh tonnes of food grains have been lifted by the States under the PMGKAY and this is about 50% of the total allotment of around 120 lakh tonnes.
  • Enough food grains stocks have been positioned across the country to meet demands of the State governments for feeding the people affected due to COVID-19
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Scramble for funds

      HEADLINES:

Scramble for funds as Centre tightens purse strings

      WHY IN NEWS:

By neither releasing GST dues nor raising the borrowing limit, the Union government has squeezed Kerala’s options

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      ISSUE: 

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection was ₹1,950.71 crore in April 2019.
  • It dipped to ₹153.26 crore in April 2020.
  • Land revenue has come down from ₹19.65 crore to ₹2.7 crore, State excise duty from ₹193.08 crore to ₹22.83 crore and motor vehicle tax from ₹298.42 crore to a mere ₹3.52 crore.
  • The Centre has not yet heeded the State’s demand for the release of GST compensation arrears of ₹5,000 crore.
  • The demand for raising the annual borrowing limit from 3% to 5% also remains a cry in the wilderness.
  • The State has pointed out that supply chain breaks due to the lockdown would result in a shortage of medicines and other essentials that reach Kerala from the neighbouring States.
  • The government has only ₹2,000 crore in its coffers at present.

HEALTHCARE COSTS

  • Despite its exemplary efforts so far to contain the CODIV-19 pandemic with minimum loss of life, the threat is far from over.
  • The government will have to bolster quarantine and testing facilities once the lakhs of Non-Resident Keralites and those residing in other States return after lockdown curbs are eased.
  • The Kerala State Electricity Board, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, the micro, small and medium enterprises, traditional industries and a host of other sectors are desperate for financial assistance to limp back to normalcy.

TURNING TO THE MARKET

  • The only option left before the government is open market borrowing.
  • Out of the sanctioned limit of ₹24,500 crore for the current financial year, the State has already availed itself of ₹6,000 crore and is now gearing to up to borrow ₹1,000 crore to meet the committed expenditure for the month.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

 Let us ‘Discuss’

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Let us know what you think about this in the comment section.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

 

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