The Hindu Newspaper 14/05/2020

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  1. Consider the following statements with respect to Biological Weapons Convention
  1. It is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
  2. It is a legally binding treaty that effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons.
  3. India is a party to this convention.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.  2 only
  • b.  3 only
  • c.  1, 2 and 3
  • d.  None

Answer : c

  • March 26, 2020 marked the 45th anniversary of the entry into force of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC).

Biological Weapons Convention (BWC)

  • Convention on the Bacteriological/Biological and Toxin Weapons, commonly known as the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) or Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) was opened for signature on 10 April 1972 and entered into force on 26 March 1975.
  • It is a legally binding treaty.
  • It is the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction.
  • It effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons.


  • India is a party to this Convention.
  • It currently has 183 states-parties, including Palestine, and four signatories (Egypt, Haiti, Somalia, Syria, and Tanzania).
  • Ten states have neither signed nor ratified the BWC (Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, South Sudan and Tuvalu).

2)Consider the following statements with respect to Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH)

  1. It is a non-profit organization established under the EXIM policy of Government of India in the year 1986-87.
  2. It works under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industries.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.  1 only
  • b.  2 only
  • c.  Both 1 and 2
  • d.  Neither 1 nor 2
  • The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) has cancelled the 49th edition of IHGF – Delhi Fair Spring-2020in view of present status of COVID-19 in India and abroad.

Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH)

  • It is a non-profit organization, established under the EXIM policy of Government of India in the year 1986-87.
  • It works under the aegis of Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • It has created necessary infrastructure as well as marketing and information facilities, which are availed both by the member exporters and importers.
  • The Council is engaged in promotion of handicrafts from India and project India’s image abroad as a reliable supplier of high quality handicrafts.
  • The Council is run and managed by team of professionals headed by Executive Director.
  • The Committee of Administration consists of eminent exporters, professionals.
  • The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts has a rarest distinction of being considered as MODEL COUNCIL that is self-sustaining and where all the promotional activities are self-financed.

3)Consider the following statements with respect to Himalayan Ibex

  1. It is widely distributed in the trans-Himalayan ranges and also found sparsely in the region of Western Ghats.
  2. Himalayan Ibex are a distinct species from the Siberian Ibex, which is distributed in diverse habitats, ranging from cold deserts to low mountains and foothills.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.  1 only
  • b.  2 only
  • c.  Both 1 and 2
  • d.  Neither 1 nor 2
  • A recent study by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has proved that Himalayan Ibex is a distinct species from the Siberian Ibex.
  • The genetic analysis conducted with the inclusion of the sequences available from all across the distribution ranges in Central Asia, Tajikistan, Altai Mountains, Mongolia and Russia provided first evidence to claim that Himalayan Ibex is genetically different from all other ranges of Siberian Ibex.

Himalayan Ibex

  • It is distributed in the trans-Himalayan ranges of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh.

Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica)

  • Siberian Ibex is a species of wild goat and is distributed in diverse habitats, ranging from cold deserts, rocky outcrops, steep terrain, high-land flats and mountain ridges to low mountains and foothills.
  • From Mongolia, its distribution extends towards Altai, Hangai, Gobi-Altai, the Hurukh mountain ranges as well as Sayan Mountains near Russia and scattered populations in the small mountains of Trans-Altai Gobi.

News:- Major stimulus package for MSMEs

2) CAPF canteens to go swadeshi:-

The CAPF comprises forces such as the Central Reserve Police Force, the Border Security Force,  the Indo Tibetan Border Police, the  Sashastra seema bal, the Central Industrial Security  Force, the National Security Guard andthe Assam Rifles. The central purchase committee of the  Central Police Canteen system is headed  by an Additional Director General rank officer

The facility was initiatedas a welfare venture by  the MHA in 2007. The beneficiaries are serving  and retiredCAPF personnel and theirfamilies. 

NEWS:- ‘Integrated Battle Groups will soon  be operational’ 

The Army’s new concept of agile Integrated  Battle Groups (IBG) as part of the overall  force transformation will be operationalised very soon,.

The IBGs are brigade sized agile selfsufficient combat formations which, can swiftly launch  strikes against adversary. Each IBG would  be tailor made based on Threat, Terrain and  Task and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts. They will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hours based onthe location.

News:- NBWL , NTCA, CZA were in News

National Board for Wild Life is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Theoretically, the board is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country. However, it is a very important body because it serves as apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.

The National Board for Wildlife is chaired by India’s Prime Minister and its vice chairman is Minister of Environment. Further, the board is mammoth body with 47-members including Parliament Members, NGOs, eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists, Government secretaries of various departments, Chief of the Army Staff, Director General of Forests, tourism etc. etc.

NTCA:-  The National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force.

The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended to provide for constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger plan to protect endangered tigers. The National Tiger Conservation Authority is set up under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Environment and Forests.

It approves the State Govt. Plans for Tiger Conservation.

Lays down Standards and Measures.

Also Prepares Report to be laid down in front of Parliament.

Project Tiger was Launched in 1973.
NTCA at Present is a Statutory Body under MOEF

It conducts Tiger Census every 4 year.

Central Zoo Authority

Central Zoo Authority is a statutory body whose main objective is to enforce minimum standards and norms for upkeep and health care of animals in India zoos.

Zoos are regulated as per the provisions of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and are guided by the National Zoo Policy, 1992. The Wild Life Protection was amended in 1991 to establish the Central Zoo Authority.

News:- Archaeological Survey of India got it’s New Head :- The Archaeological Surveyof India (ASI) got a new Director General with the appointment of IAS  officer V. Vidyavathi.

About ASI :- The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the Ministry of Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.

Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.

Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance the entire country is divided into 24 Circles.

History:- Archaeological and historical pursuits in India started with the efforts of Sir William Jones, who put together a group of antiquarians to form the Asiatic Society on 15th January 1784 in Calcuta.

In 1833 James Prinsep became the secretary of the Asiatic Society. His most eventful achievement is the decipherment of the Brahmi and Kharoshthi scripts between 1834 and 1837. The identification of Piyadasi with Asoka and the contemporary kings mentioned in his Rock Edict XIII enabled to fix a clear chronological bench mark for Indian history.

Alexander Cunningham was appointed as the first Archaeological Surveyor from December 1861 in Archeological Survey of India.

News:- Army proposes 3-year stint for civilians

In a first of its kind proposal, the Army plans to  take civilians on a three year “Tour of Duty”  (ToD) or short service” on a trial basis to serve as officers and in other ranks initially for a  limited number of vacancies which will be expanded later. 

This is expected to resultin significant reduction  in the expenditure on pay and pensions and  free up funds for the Army’s modernisation.

News:- ‘Huge loss for 21 major States

The lockdown caused 21 major States to suffer a  collective revenue loss of about ₹97,100  crore  for the month of April alone, according to estimates from India Ratings and Research  (Fitch Group).

News:- Vocal about local, but no snub to  globalisation

What things can we decipher from PM Modi’s speech :-

Thereare at least four discernible strands in  Mr. Modi’s speech.

First, is import substitution, Covid-19 has shown too much dependence on other nations is counter productive.

Second, this is not a rejection of globalisation, but acall for a new form of globalisation — from  profit driven to people centric.

Not total distancing from Globalization but having some boundries with the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. 

Third, the manner in which he brought  China into the picture, without naming it.  India’s self-reliance can only be at the  cost of China. We need to give the world an alternative of China in us.

Fourth, his notion of reforms for self reliance,  not for globalisation. Now the reforms will be focussed towards self reliance and not globalization.

Editorial of the Day :- It’s time to give IRS officers their due

The Central Board of Direct Taxation(CBDT), a  wing of the Ministry of Finance, has initiated  disciplinary proceedings against some Indian  Revenue Service (IRS) officers for a report they  submitted to the government recently. 

What is The Report about :- Name of the Report is FORCE report :- ‘Fiscal Options and Response to  Covid-19 Epidemic’.

Suggestions in the Report :-

  • Raising the highest slab rate to 40% for  income above ₹1 crore or 
  • reintroducing the wealth tax for those with wealthof ₹5 crore or more; 
  • providing an additional onetime cess of 4%  on taxable income of ₹10 lakh and  above  for COVID-19 relief; 
  • providing tax relief for sectors hit hard by COVID-19;
  • and reintroducing the inheritance tax.

Author has highlighted a Generalist versus the specialist

The Ministry of Finance is always headed by an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer despite the fact that they have little experience  in handling the economy.

On the other hand, the CBDT is managed by IRS officers with rich field experience. 

It is mostly IAS officers who are made Governor ofthe Reserve Bank of India, Chief Election  Commissioner, and Comptroller and Auditor General of  India. IRS officers arerarely  allowed to occupy top posts.

Author says The FORCE report is sound.  The IRS officers who wrote it deserve admiration and not admonition.

Editorial 2:- A plan to revive a broken economy


10 kgof free foodgrains per month for a period of  six months is likely to cost around 3% of our GDP (assuming 20% voluntary dropout).  This could be financed immediately through  larger  borrowing by the Centre from the  Reserve Bank of India.

This is easily doable since the harvest has been good and also FCI has plenty of food grains in its stores.

Cash transfer to Poor people is also a good move to revive the demand. If poor people will have more money in hand they can use more for consumption and thus boost demand.

Revamp MGNREGA work:- Author suggest increased MGNREGS works, also suggests removal of 100 days condition and work should be available on demand. This can also be an stimulus for increasing rural demand.

The urban focus:- In urban areas, it is absolutely essential to revive  the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises  (MSMEs).

The ‘care’ economy:- The pandemic has  underscored the extreme importance of a  public healthcare system, and the folly of  privatisation of essential services.

Increase employment in Public Health, ASHA activists etc

How to fund 10% of GDP:-

  • A 2%wealth tax on the top 1% of the population, 
  • together with a 33% inheritance tax on the wealth they bequeath every year to their  progeny, could finance an increase in  government expenditure to the  tune of 10% of GDP. 

5 Rights Need to be maintained at all costs :-

  1. the right to food, 
  2. the right to employment, 
  3. the right to free public health care, 
  4. the right to free public education and 
  5. the right to a living oldage pension and  disability benefits. 

Editorial 3 :- Provide income support, restore  jobs 

In this article author says that what we need is not abrogation of Labour Rights as done by the present govt. We need rationalisation of Labour Rights so as to maintain a fine balance between the Economic ease and profit ability and Labour Welfare.

One Factual Law :- Say’s Law of Economics

Improved supply is expected to create demand  (following Say’s Law in economics).

Author Says : the way to restart the economy is to provide income support and restore jobs. 

Scrapping labour laws to save on labour costs  will do just the opposite: it will reduce wages, lower earnings (particularly of low wage workers) and reduce consumer demand.

Further, it will lead to an increase of low  paid work  that offers no security of tenure or  income stability.

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