1) Financial Inclusion Index, is released by which of the following organization?
Ministry of Finance
Organization of Economic Corporation and Development (OECD)
Reserve Bank of India
Answer – Reserve Bank of India
2) With reference to PM CARE Fund, consider the following statements:
1. It is a statutory fund, established under the Disaster Management Act of 2005.
2. It comes under the ambit of RTI (Right to Information).
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
Answer – Neither 1 nor 2
3) TKS Nair Committee, Raman Puri Committee, seen in news, is related to which of the following:
Answer – Defence Reforms
Prelims Specific News Items –
1) WHO releases new roadmap to defeat meningitis
Recently, World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners launched the first-ever global strategy to defeat meningitis. Meningitis is a debilitating disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.
What is the aim of the strategy?
The strategy ‘the Global Roadmap to Defeat Meningitis by 2030’, aims to prevent infections and improve care and diagnosis for those affected.
It also aims to eliminate epidemics of bacterial meningitis (deadliest form of the disease) and to reduce deaths by 70 per cent and halve the number of cases.
The strategy could save more than 200,000 lives annually and significantly reduce disability caused by the disease.
What is meningitis?
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is predominantly caused by bacterial and viral infection. Meningitis caused by bacterial infection causes around 250,000 deaths a year and can lead to fast-spreading epidemics.
It kills a tenth of those infected mostly children and young people. It leaves a fifth with long-lasting disability, such as seizures, hearing and vision loss, neurological damage, and cognitive impairment.
Meningitis epidemics have occurred in the last decade in all regions of the world. But it is most common in the ‘Meningitis Belt,’ which spans 26 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Is there any vaccine to protect against meningitis?
Several vaccines protect against meningitis, including meningococcal, Haemophilus influenzae type b and pneumococcal vaccines. But not all communities have access to them. Many countries are yet to introduce them into their national programmes.
Research is underway to develop vaccines for other causes of meningitis, such as Group B Strep bacteria.
2)Landsat 9: NASA’s ‘new eye in the sky’ that will help study climate change
What is the news?
Recently, a NASA satellite was successfully launched the earth monitoring satellite, Landsat 9. It is a joint mission of NASA and the US Geological Survey (USGS).
The firstLandsat satellite was launched in 1972. Since then, Landsat satellites have collected images of our planet and helped understand how land usage has changed over the decades. Images have also been used to study the health of forests, coral reefs, monitor water quality and melting glaciers.
How is Landsat 9 diff from prev Landsats?
Landsat 9 carries instruments similar to the other Landsat satellites, but it is the most technologically advanced satellite of its generation. It can see more colour shades with greater depths than the previous satellites. It can help scientists capture more details about our ever-changing planet.
What is the significance of LanSat?
Landsat 9 will help make science-based decisions on key issues such as impacts of wildfire, coral reef degradation, the retreat of glaciers, and deforestation.
How will the satellite help monitor climate change?
If a forest is affected by drought, it will be seen in Landsat images and can help the researchers decode the areas at risk.
Similarly during a wildfire, the Landsat images will capture the plumes of smoke and help study the extent of a burning.
The satellite images can also help recovery experts plan sites for replanting.
3) NASA’s Lucy mission to probe Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids
NASA is poised to send its first spacecraft to studyJupiter’s Trojan asteroids to glean new insights into the solar system’s formation 4.5 billion years ago, the space agency said September 28.
The probe, called Lucy after an ancient fossil that provided insights into the evolution of human species, will launch on October 16 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Its mission is to investigate the group of rocky bodies circling the Sun in two swarms, one preceding Jupiter in its orbital path and the other trailing behind it.
After receiving boosts from Earth’s gravity, Lucy will embark on a 12-year journey to eight different asteroids — one in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter and then seven Trojans.
The Jupiter trojans, commonly called Trojan asteroids or simply Trojans, are a large group of asteroids that share the planet Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun.
Important news :-
1) China can join Quad initiatives’ –
The Quad is a partnership among “like-minded” countries and is not ‘designed’ to be a security alliance, said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who argued that even China is welcome to contribute to the objective of ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.
2) NEET: OCI candidates can appear in general category –
The Supreme Court on Thursday permitted Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) candidates to participate in the NEET-UG 2021 counselling in the general category.
Non Resident Indian – An NRI is an Indian citizen residing abroad.
A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) means a person resident outside India who is a citizen of India or is a person of Indian origin.
An Indian citizen residing outside India for a combined total of at least 183 days in a financial year is considered to be an NRI.
The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 was passed by the Parliament.
Foreign funding of persons in India is regulated under FCRA act and is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Individuals are permitted to accept foreign contributions without permission of MHA. However, the monetary limit for acceptance of such foreign contributions shall be less than Rs. 25,000.
The Act ensures that the recipients of foreign contributions adhere to the stated purpose for which such contribution has been obtained.
The FCRA registration is renewed every five years. The NGOs also have to compulsorily open an account with the SBI in Delhi to receive funds.
Public servant includes any person who is in service or pay of the government, or remunerated by the government for the performance of any public duty are prohibited to receive these funds.
4) Core sector grew 11.6% in August –
The eight core industries — coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity — comprise 40.27 percent of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
5) India, Australia to conclude free trade pact by end 2022: Tehan (#GS2 #GS3)
India and Australia agreed on Thursday to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by end 2022, with an interim agreement that will be finalized by this Christmas, said Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan after meeting Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
“The economic partnership will cover trade in services and goods, investments and we will begin discussing government procurement, energy and resources, logistics and transport, standards, rules of origin,”
The bilateral trade could double from the current level of A$26 billion once a full-fledged
FTA is in place.
What is FTA ?
A free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them. Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.
The details of countries with which India has entered into Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are given below:
India – Bhutan Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit
Indo-Nepal Treaty of Trade
India – Sri Lanka FTA
Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan)
India – Thailand FTA – Early Harvest Scheme (EHS)
India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)
India – South Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)
India – ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)
India – Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreemen
India – Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement
India has signed Preferential Trade Agreement (limited tariff lines with Margin of Preference i.e. percentage of Tariff concession) with the following countries:
Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) (Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka)
Global System of Trade Preferences (G S T P) (Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia, Zimbabwe)
India – Afghanistan PTA
India – MERCOSUR PTA
India – Chile PTA
6) Adani signs $700mn deal for Lanka port-
Adani Group signed a more than $700million agreement with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and conglomerate John Keells Holdings, becoming the largest foreign investor in the island nation’s ports sector.
The three parties signed a build-operate-transfer agreement spanning 35 years to jointly develop a container terminal at Colombo Port, the SLPA said.
The Adani group and its local partner will together bring in 85% of the investment in the West Container Terminal, while SLPA will hold the remaining 15% stake, port officials said.
7) Hidden debt rising for partners of China’s BRI plan –
42 countries now have debt exposure to China in excess of 10% of GDP
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with a rise in “hidden” debt on account of an increasing number of deals struck not directly between governments but structured through often opaque arrangements with a range of financing institutions.
8) Rohingya leader killed in Bangladesh –
Who are Rohingyas?
They are an Ethnic group, mostly Muslims. They were not granted full citizenship by Myanmar.
They were classified as “resident foreigners or associate citizens”.
Ethnically they are much closer to Indo-Aryan people of India and Bangladesh than to the Sino-Tibetans of the Country.
Described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “one of, if not the, most persecuted people in the world”.
Bhasan Char is an island specifically developed to accommodate 1,00,000 of the 1 million Rohingya who have fled from neighbouring Myanmar.
While human rights groups have criticised the move and some are being forced to go against their will, the government has insisted that refugees moving to the island have done so voluntarily.
Editorial – Important Articles
1) At the Quad, forming habits of cooperation : #GS2
Context of the Editorial –
The Washington summit added new areas of collaboration: infrastructure; cybersecurity and space; education and people-to-people relations.
On the first, the plan is to promote “sustainable infrastructure”, with a stress on aligning the Quad with the G7’sBuild Back Better World (B3W) Partnership, based on the G20’s quality infrastructure investment principles. Here, the Quad can focus on four key B3W elements: digital connectivity, climate, health security and gender equality infrastructure.
The formation of an infrastructure coordination group composed of senior officials was announced. It will map and coordinate infrastructure needs and catalyse private-sector investment.
On cybersecurity, the Quad will cooperate on combating cyber threats and securing critical infrastructure.
On the space front, the plan is to identify new collaboration opportunities, especially sharing of data to monitor climate change, disaster response and preparedness, and sustainable uses of ocean and marine resources. A senior cyber group and a new working group on space will be established.
On education, the Quad fellowship programme will award 100 graduates — 25 scholars from each Quad country — opportunities in leading STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programmes in the U.S. This is not a government programme but a philanthropic initiative.
Quad Working Groups –
The three working groups on vaccines, climate and emerging technologies established last March, have reported progress. On vaccines, the Quad stands committed to donate over 1.2 billion doses globally
The Quad working group on climate change has focused on three thematic areas: climate ambition, clean-energy innovation, and climate adaptation and resilience.
The Quad leaders emphasised enhanced action for achieving global net-zero emissions preferably by 2050, with an important caveat — “taking into account national circumstances” — added at India’s instance.
A Quad shipping task force has now been launched to build a green-shipping network and green port infrastructure.
2) Should universities avoid teaching controversial texts?
“Ideas should be fought with ideas; ideas cannot be banned.”
Second, students at the postgraduate level are mature enough to understand and decide which idea to support and which idea to oppose. So, nothing should be excluded from the curriculum.
Curriculum is being structured for school students, who are of an impressionable age, educationists can decide on the manner of presenting the subject to the students.
At the postgraduate level, the original writings of these thinkers must be made available for discussions. We might like them or dislike them, but nobody can deny that these are important thinkers, especially in today’s India where the ideology they espoused is ruling the country — at the Centre and in some States. Students have to understand what this ideology is, what its implications are, and then decide for themselves.
Violation of 3 Fundamental Principles-
One, it violates the principle of academic autonomy. It is the university’s business to decide what it wishes to teach, not the business of the government of the day
The second is critical pedagogy — students should be introduced to all kinds of ideas and be invited to critically examine them.
Third, it violates the fundamental democratic principle of freedom of expression.
This cartoon appeared when both Nehru and Ambedkar were alive. Neither of them had any problems with the cartoon. There is a famous quote of Nehru’s where he tells Shankar, the cartoonist, not to spare him. This is the kind of democratic spirit with which India began its journey as an independent nation.
3) Making parties constitutional –
Context of the Editorial –
A political party is an organised group of citizens who hold common views on governance and act as a political unit that seeks to obtain control of government with a view to further the agenda and policy they profess.
Political parties have extralegal growth in almost every democratic country.
Sir Ivor Jennings, in The British Constitution, opined that “a realistic survey of the British Constitution today must begin and end with parties and discuss them at length in the middle”. Similarly, political parties in India are extra-constitutional, but they are the breathing air of the political system.
The German model
The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949) gives constitutional status to political parties. Article 21 of the Basic Law deals with their status, rights, duties and functions.
What it provides:
“(1) Political parties shall participate in the formation of the political will of the people. They may be freely established. Their internal organisation must conform to democratic principles. They must publicly account for their assets and for the sources and use of their funds.
(2) Parties that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their adherents, seek to undermine or abolish the free democratic basic order or to endanger the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany shall be unconstitutional…
(3) The Federal Constitutional Court shall rule on the question of unconstitutionality…
(4) Details shall be regulated by federal laws.” The German model of constitutionalising political parties is more desirable for India than the U.S. and the U.K. models. Section 29A(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 is the only major statutory provision dealing with political parties in India. It orders that a political party shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy, and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
Political parties in developed nations maintain high levels of internal democracy. In the U.K., the Conservative Party has the National Conservative Convention as its top body. It has a Central Council and an Executive Committee.
The Indian Constitution is the one of the longest Constitutions in the world. It even elaborately deals with the co-operative societies. The right to form co-operative societies is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1)(c), but the right to form political parties is not. It is astonishing that such a meticulous Constitution overlooked political parties, the vital players in the political system, for constitutional regulation.
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