Daily Current Affairs : 11th July 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
  2. FDI Rules
  3. Snakebite Deaths in India
  4. National Investigation Agency
  5. Apache Attack Helicopters
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Context: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has pulled up the Rajasthan government for its new guidelines on elementary education.

About the news

  • Rajasthan government had issued guidelines for admissions to private schools under the RTE Act, 2009 for the 2020-21 academic year that will take place only from class 1 or above.
  • According to NCPCR these guidelines “violate” the Right to Education Act, 2009 and deny children from economically weaker sections the right to free education in nursery classes.
  • The RTE Act, 2009, states that private schools will have to admit, “to the extent of at least twenty five per cent of the strength of that class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighbourhood and provide free and compulsory education till its completion.”
  • These guidelines also violate the RTE Act insofar as they recommend the age of admission to be “5 years or above but less than 7 years as of 31st March 2020.”
  • NCPCR has recommended re-examination of the guidelines in light of the RTE Act, 2009.

About National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  • The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005).
  • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development ,Government of India.
  • The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
  • The Commission visualizes a rights-based perspective flowing into National Policies and Programmes, along with nuanced responses at the State, District and Block levels, taking care of specificity and strengths of each region. In order to touch every child, it seeks a deeper penetration to communities and households and expects that the ground experiences gathered at the field are taken into consideration by all the authorities at the higher level.
  • Commission sees an indispensable role for the State, sound institution-building processes, respect for decentralization at   the  local  bodies  and  community level and larger societal concern for children and their well-being.

Right to Education

  • The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right in such a manner as the State may, by law, determine.
  • It means that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards.
  • Article 21-A and the RTE Act came into effect on 1 April 2010.

The RTE Act provides for the :

  • Right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school.
  • It clarifies that ‘compulsory education’ means obligation of the appropriate government to provide free elementary education and ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of elementary education to every child in the six to fourteen age group. ‘Free’ means that no child shall be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
  • It makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class.
  • It specifies the duties and responsibilities of appropriate Governments, local authority and parents in providing free and compulsory education, and sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments.
  • It lays down the norms and standards relating inter alia to Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), buildings and infrastructure, school-working days, teacher-working hours.
  • It provides for rational deployment of teachers by ensuring that the specified pupil teacher ratio is maintained for each school, rather than just as an average for the State or District or Block, thus ensuring that there is no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings. It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief.
  • It provides for appointment of appropriately trained teachers, i.e. teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.
  • It prohibits (a) physical punishment and mental harassment; (b) screening procedures for admission of children; (c) capitation fee; (d) private tuition by teachers and (e) running of schools without recognition,
  • It provides for development of curriculum in consonance with the values enshrined in the Constitution, and which would ensure the all-round development of the child, building on the child’s knowledge, potentiality and talent and making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centred learning.

2 . FDI Rules

Context : People’s Bank of China, after raising its stake in HDFC in April 2020, has now trimmed it to below 1 per cent.

Recent Change in FDI Rules

  • The Indian government has made prior approval compulsory for foreign investments from all the countries sharing borders with India to prevent “opportunistic takeovers” of domestic firms following the COVID-19 pandemic. The move will restrict Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China.
  • “An entity of a country, which shares land border with India or where the beneficial owner of an investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the government route,”.
  • Any transfer of ownership of any existing or future FDI in a company in India, which results in any change in beneficial ownership, would also need government approval.
  • As per the estimates of India-China Economic and Cultural council, Chinese investors have put estimated an $ 4 billion of greenfield investments into Indian start-ups.
  • In the last few years, 18 out of India’s 30 unicorns are Chinese-funded.
  • According to the DPIIT data, India received FDI worth $ 2.34 billion (Rs 14.846 crore) from China between April 2000 and December 2019.

About Investment in HDFC

  • PBOC had raised its stake to 1.01% in HDFC in March 2020 from 0.8 per cent as of March 2019. The stake comprised 17.49 million shares of the mortgage lender. It was a secondary market transaction.
  • After this development HDFC received criticism from various quarters. HDFC was even targeted on social media, with many saying they would withdraw money and close accounts.
  • But the bank’s June quarter shareholding disclosed that PBOC is not its shareholder, which means it might have divested 1.75 crore shares worth Rs 3,300 crore at the present value.

3 . Snakebite deaths in India

Context: According to a study conducted by the Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR) at the University of Toronto, Canada, with Indian and U.K. partners India has recorded a staggering 1.2 million snakebite deaths in the 20-year period from 2000 to 2019 with an average of 58,000 deaths caused by snakebite annually.

Key findings of the study

  • Around 70% of the snakebite deaths occurred in low altitude, rural areas of eight States — Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • Half of all the snakebite deaths occurred during the monsoon period from June to September.
  • The snakebite deaths occurred mostly in rural areas (97%) and were more common in males (59%) than females (41%), and peaked in the age group of 15-29 years (25%).
  • The numbers for annual snakebite deaths were highest in the States of Uttar Pradesh (8,700), Andhra Pradesh (5,200) and Bihar (4,500).
  • Indian anti-venoms neutralise venom from only the spectacled cobra (there are three other Indian cobra species), common krait (there are seven other krait species), Russell’s viper and saw-scaled viper, whereas there are 12 other snake species causing fatal bites in the country.


  • It should be declared annual epidemics which will make it easier to manage. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) recognises snakebite as a top-priority neglected tropical disease.
  • The Government of India’s data captured only 10% of the expected hospital-based deaths and so further improvements need to be made.
  • Certain areas should be targeted and people should be educated with simple methods such as ‘snake-safe’ harvest practices — using rubber boots and gloves, mosquito nets and rechargeable torches (or mobile phone flashlights) — could reduce the risk of snakebites.

4 . National Investigation Agency (NIA)

Context: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case in connection with the smuggling of gold at the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

About the news

  • According to the NIA the “proceeds of the smuggled gold could be used for financing of terrorism in India”.
  • NIA has registered the case under Sections 16, 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against four suspects.
  • As the case pertains to smuggling of a large quantity of gold into India from offshore locations, threatening the economic stability and national security of the country, it amounts to a terrorist act as stated in Section 15 of the UAPA.

About NIA

  • The NIA was created by an Act of the Parliament of India in 2008 following Mumbai Terror Attack of November 2008.
  • According to the NIA Act, the Agency is an investigation agency at the national level to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, security of State, friendly relations with foreign States and offences under Acts enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto for investigation and prosecution of offences affecting sovereignty, security and integrity of India.
  • NIA plays the role of the national counter terrorism law enforcement agency.
  • The NIA was established in a concurrent jurisdiction framework, with provisions for taking up specific cases under specific Acts for investigation and prosecution. Hence, it was “not an Agency to deal with offences under all the laws”, but “with only eight laws”:
    • The Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962);
    • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967);
    • The Anti-Hijacking Act, 1982 (65 of 1982);
    • The Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982 (66 of 1982);
    • The SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1993 (36 of 1993);
    • The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002 (69 of 2002);
    • The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, 2005 (21 of 2005);
    • Offences under— Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) [sections 121 to 130 (both inclusive)]; Sections 489-A to 489-E (both inclusive) of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
  • Under two circumstances the NIA takes up a case “to investigate and prosecute offences”.
    • It could be on reference from the State where a Scheduled offence has taken place. On receipt of report from the State Government, the Central Government shall determine on the basis of information made available by the State Government or received from other sources, within 15 days from the date of receipt of the report, whether the offence is a fit case to be investigated by the NIA
    • The Central Government may also, suo motu, direct the Agency to investigate a Scheduled offence if it is of the opinion that the offence is required to be investigated under the NIA Act

About the Amendments

  • Scheduled offences:  The amendment bill seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following offences, in addition:
    • Human trafficking,
    • Offences related to counterfeit currency or bank notes
    • Manufacture or sale of prohibited arms
    • Cyber-terrorism
    • Offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.      
  • Jurisdiction of the NIA: The amendment bill states that in addition, officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.  The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases, as if the offence has been committed in India.  The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.
  • Special Courts: The Act allows the central government to constitute Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.  The Bill amends this to state that the central government may designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.  The central government is required to consult the Chief Justice of the High Court under which the Sessions Court is functioning, before designating it as a Special Court.  When more than one Special Court has been designated for any area, the senior-most judge will distribute cases among the courts.  Further, state governments may also designate Sessions Courts as Special Courts for the trial of scheduled offences.

5 . Apache attack helicopters

Context: Boeing handed over the last of the five AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF), completing the contract for 22 Apaches. The Apaches were deployed at the Leh air base as part of the forward movement of assets, amid the stand-off with China in Ladakh.

About the news

  • India contracted 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook helicopters from Boeing through the Foreign Military Sales programme of the U.S. government in September 2015 under a $3 billion deal.
  • In February, India and the U.S. signed a deal for six additional Apaches for the Army.
  • Boeing’s joint venture in Hyderabad, Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited, has been producing aero-structures for the AH-64 Apache helicopter for both the U.S. Army and international customers
  • Boeing’s suppliers in India are manufacturing critical systems and components for the Chinooks, including the crown and tailcone assembly by the Tata Advanced Systems and the ramp and aft pylon by Dynamatic Technologies.

AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter

  • The AH-64 Apache is the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter.
  • The AH-64E is an advanced multi-mission helicopter with the latest technology insertions, maintaining its standing as the world’s best attack helicopter.
  • The AH-64 was designed to perform in front-line environments, and to operate at night or day and during adverse weather conditions.
  • It is the only available combat helicopter with a spectrum of capabilities for virtually any mission requirement, including greater thrust and lift, joint digital operability, improved survivability and cognitive decision aiding. 

Chinook Helicopter

  • Heavy-lift CH 47 F(I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force’s helicopter fleet.
  • The helicopter has a fully integrated digital cockpit management system, advanced cargo handling capabilities and electronic warfare suite that complement the aircraft’s performance.
  • The helicopter is capable of airlifting diverse military and non military loads into remote locations.
  • This modern, multi-mission-capable, heavy-lift transport helicopter will enhance our heli-lift capability across all types of terrain to the full effect

6 . Facts for Prelims

‘India Cycles 4 Change Challenge’

  • This was launched by the Smart Cities Mission of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
  • Apart from the 100 cities implementing the Smart Cities Mission, cities with population of over 5 lakh and capitals of States and Union Territories can apply.
  • The challenge aims to help cities connect with their citizens as well as experts to develop a unified vision and initiatives to promote cycling.
  • Cities would be encouraged to create extensive cycling networks using low-cost methods like pop-up cycle lanes and non-motorised zones and set up community-led cycle rental schemes.
  • This challenge would be in two stages — implementation of pilot projects for cycling by all cities that register and scaling up the interventions by cities selected based on their proposals.
  • The programme would be supported by the India Programme of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

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