Daily Current Affairs : 10/8/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Common Service Centres
  2. Constitutional validity of Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment Act)
  3. Rotavirus
  4. Mercury Accumulation in Fish
  5. National Anti-Doping Agency
  6. Facts for Prelims : National Awards, Marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR)

1 . Common Service Centres

Context : Common Service Centres (CSCs), which come under the Ministry of Electronics and IT, plan to open one lakh charging stations for electric vehicles across the country in the next few years, as the country plans to transition to such vehicles from the current combustion engine-powered automobiles.

About Common Service Centres

  • Under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) formulated by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India, the Common Services Centers (CSCs) are conceptualized as ICT enabled, front end service delivery points for delivery of Government, Social and Private Sector services in the areas of agriculture, health, education, entertainment, FMCG products, banking and financial services, utility payments, etc.
  • It is a pan-India network catering to regional, geographic, linguistic and cultural diversity of the country, thus enabling the Government’s mandate of a socially, financially and digitally inclusive society.
  • CSC e-Governance Services India is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up by MeitY to oversee implementation of the CSC scheme to enable access to information technology in rural areas.
  • Village Level Entrepreneur delivers various government and non-government services to the end consumers from the CSC outlet(mostly owned)

Minimum Requirements required for a VLE

  • Should have a valid Aadhaar number.
  • The VLE should be a village youth above 18 years of age.
  • The VLE must have passed the 10th level examination from a recognized board as minimum level of educational qualification.
  • The VLE should be fluent in reading and writing the local dialect and should also have basic level knowledge of English language.
  • Prior knowledge in basic computer skills would be a preferred advantage.
  • The VLE should be motivated enough to be a prime driver of social change and disperse his/her duties with utmost dedication and honesty.

Services Provided through Common Service Centres

  • Bharat Bill Pay : It is a one-stop bill payment platform for all bills – electricity, mobile, broadband and landline, DTH, Gas, Water, etc – across India with certainty, reliability and safety of transactions
  • FASTag through CSCs : CSC SPV has partnered with NHAI to dispense FASTags through the network of CSCs. 
  • Passport & PAN card : Services available through CSCs include filling and uploading of Passport Application Form, payment of fee and scheduling of appointment for visit to Passport Kendra.
  • Swacch Bharat Abhiyan : Ministry of Urban Development partnered with CSC to facilitate online applications through CSCs for construction of individual household toilets across the country under the campaign
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana : MoU was signed between Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MHUPA) and CSC SPV for receiving PMAY applications through CSCs. 
  • FSSAI : Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) partnered with CSC SPV in July 2016 to provide Food Business Operator (FBO) registration service through CSCs. 
  • Soil Health Card : Farmer registrations in the scheme have taken place through CSCs across 23 States.
  • e-District : The e-District project has been conceptualized to improve the experience of G2C interactions for citizens at the districts through seamless delivery of various services like certificates, licences, Ration Card, disbursement of social welfare pensions, online filing of RTI, land registration, land records, Government taxes, utility bill payments, etc.
  • Election Commission Services

2 . Constitutional validity of Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment Act)

Context : The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a central law which empowered harassed home buyers to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against errant real estate builders.

About the Verdict

  • A three-judge Bench confirmed the constitutional validity of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act of August 2018, which gave home buyers the status of “financial creditors” with power to vote in the Committee of Creditors.
  • The Act had brought the home buyers on par with the creditor banks of the property builder. Prior to the law, the home buyers were made to wait blindly for a solution to come up, either in the form of a completed apartment or a refund.
  • Before the Amendment Act of 2018 came into existence, the assets of the bankrupt builder were divided among his employees, creditor banks and other operational creditors. Home buyers had hardly figured, though their hard-earned savings may have provided a major chunk of the housing project.
  • The Amendment Act allowed home buyers, as financial creditors, to trigger bankruptcy proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of 2016 and have their “rightful place” on the Committee of Creditors (CoC). The CoC, by voting, makes important decisions on the future of the bankrupt builder. These calls include what to do with his assets and who should finish the pending housing projects.

3 . Rotavirus

Context : The Health Ministry has drawn an ambitious plan under the 100 days agenda of the newly elected government, wherein it has been decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September, 2019

About Rotavirus

  • Rotavirus is a contagious disease — it spreads easily from child to child. Rotavirus can cause diarrhea (watery poop), which can lead to dehydration (not having enough water in the body). Children who get severe cases of rotavirus may need to be hospitalized.
  • The rotavirus vaccine protects 9 out of 10 children from getting severe illness caused by rotavirus. The rotavirus vaccine is the best way to protect your child from rotavirus.
  • Rotavirus is caused by a virus, and it mostly affects babies and young children. Symptoms of rotavirus include:
    • Severe diarrhea
    • Throwing up
    • Dehydration
    • Fever
    • Stomach pain
    • Changes in behavior

Indian Scenario

  • In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born are unable to celebrate their 5th birthday, and one of the major reasons for this is diarrhoeal deaths. Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age.
  • It is estimated that Rotavirus cause 8,72,000 hospitalisations; 32,70,000 outpatient visits and estimated 78,000 deaths annually in India.
  • Rotavirus diarrhoea can be prevented through vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation
  • Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, hand washing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhoea in children

4 . Mercury Accumulation in Fish

Context : A joint research by the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H), Harvard University, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a Canadian government agency, has found that though there has been a decrease in the levels of mercury pollution, the amount of mercury found in fish have been different in different species – some types of fish have less mercury than before, and some, alarmingly more.

Methyl Mercury

  • Methylmercury is a form of mercury and a very toxic compound. It often forms through mercury’s contact with bacteria from different environments.
  • People become exposed to methylmercury by eating fish and seafood, as many species of water dwelling animals end up ingesting this substance.

How Mercury accumulation occurs

  • There are three factors that result in mercury accumulation in fish
    • Overfishing, which leads to dietary changes among marine animals : Algae absorb organic methylmercury, so the fish that eat algae will also absorb this toxic substance.
    • Variations in the temperature of the sea water, which leads to changes in fish metabolism that gears towards survival rather than growth (Global Warming) : Warmer the water, the more energy the fish need to expend to swim, which means that they eat a greater number of smaller fish and end up having a higher intake and accumulation of methylmercury.
    • Changes in the amounts of mercury found in sea water as a result of pollution

Health Effects

  • Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.
  • Exposure to mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.
  • Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.
  • Mercury is considered by WHO as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.
  • People are mainly exposed to methylmercury, an organic compound, when they eat fish and shellfish that contain the compound.
  • Methylmercury is very different to ethylmercury. Ethylmercury is used as a preservative in some vaccines and does not pose a health risk.

What needs to be done

  • Climate change is going to exacerbate human exposure to methylmercury through seafood, so to protect ecosystems and human health, we need to regulate both mercury emissions and greenhouse gases

5 . National Anti Doping Agency (NADA)

Context : Ending an impasse that has dragged for close to a decade, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Friday agreed to come under the ambit of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).

About National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA)

  • National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) was set up as registered society under the Societies Registration Act of 1890 on November 24, 2005 with a mandate for Dope free sports in India.
  • The primary objectives are to implement anti-doping rules as per WADA code, regulate dope control programme, to promote education and research and creating awareness about doping and its ill effects.
  • NADA is responsible to implement an effective number of in-competition and out-of-competition tests on the athletes in its registered testing pool. This includes international and national level athletes being tested by NADA. The NADA develops a test distribution plan and allocates the number of samples for each sport or discipline required for effective deterrence. The plan includes out-of-competition testing, in- competition testing, and may include blood as well as urine collection.
  • The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the document that harmonizes regulations regarding anti-doping in sport across all sports and all countries of the world. The Code provides a framework for anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations for sport organizations and public authorities so that there may be a level playing field for all athletes worldwide.
  • In accordance with WADA Code the athletes are responsible whenever a prohibited substance is found in their bodily specimen. This means that a violation occurs whether or not the athlete intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or unknowingly, used a prohibited substance or was negligent or otherwise at fault.

What is Doping

  • Doping is defined by WADA as the occurrence of one or more of the following anti-doping rule violations mentioned in the WADA/NADA Code :
    • Presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample.
    • Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.
    • Refusing to submit to sample collection after being notified.
    • Failure to provide whereabouts information or being unavailable for doping control.
    • Tampering with any part of the doping control process.
    • Possession of a prohibited substance or method.
    • Trafficking a prohibited substance or method.
    • Administering or attempting to administer a prohibited substance or method to an athlete.
    • Complicity
    • Prohibited Association

6 . Facts for Prelims

Marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR)

  • The marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) refers to the minimum interest rate of a bank below which it cannot lend, except in some cases allowed by the RBI. It is an internal benchmark or reference rate for the bank.
  • MCLR actually describes the method by which the minimum interest rate for loans is determined by a bank – on the basis of marginal cost or the additional or incremental cost of arranging one more rupee to the prospective borrower.
  • The MCLR methodology for fixing interest rates for advances was introduced by the Reserve Bank of India with effect from April 1, 2016. This methodology replaced the base rate system

Reasons for introducing MCLR

  • RBI decided to shift from base rate to MCLR because the rates based on marginal cost of funds are more sensitive to changes in the policy rates.
  • This is very essential for the effective implementation of monetary policy.
  • Prior to MCLR system, different banks were following different methodology for calculation of base rate /minimum rate – that is either on the basis of average cost of funds or marginal cost of funds or blended cost of funds. Thus, MCLR aims :
    • To improve the transmission of policy rates into the lending rates of banks.
    • To bring transparency in the methodology followed by banks for determining interest rates on advances.
    • To ensure availability of bank credit at interest rates which are fair to borrowers as well as banks.
    • To enable banks to become more competitive and enhance their long run value and contribution to economic growth.

National Film Awards 2019

  • Best non feature film: Son Rise by Vibha Bakshi and The Secret Life of Frogs by Ajay and Vijay Bedi
  • Best Educational Film: Sarala Virala
  • Best Director: Uri : The Surgical Strike- Aditya Dhar
  • Best Feature Film: Hellaro a Gujarati film directed by Abhishek Shah
  • Best Actor: Ayushmann Khuranna for Andhadhun and Vicky Kaushal for Uri : The Surgical Strike
  • Best Actress: Keerthy Suresh for Mahanati
  • Best Supporting Actor – Swanand Kirkire for Chumbhak
  • Best supporting actress – Surekha SikriforBadhaai Ho

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