Daily Current Affairs : 12th June 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. NIRF Ranking
  2. Hydroxychloroquine
  3. Universal Basic Income
  4. Indian Gaur
  5. Sero Survey on Covid
  6. Right to Reservation not a Fundamental Right
  7. Rights Issue
  8. Facts for Prelims

1 . National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

Context: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, is the country’s best in the field of higher education, according to the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) released on Thursday. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, stands at the second place, followed by IIT-Delhi.

2020 – Ranking

  • IIT Madras retains 1stPosition in Overall Ranking as well as in Engineering,
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru tops the University list
  • IIM Ahmedabad tops in Management Category and AIIMS occupies the top slot in Medical category for third consecutive year.
  • Miranda College retains 1st position amongst colleges for third consecutive year
  • Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, Delhi secures 1st position in “Dental” category, dental institutions included for first time in India Rankings 2020
  • National Law School of India University is the best for studying law, while the IIT-Kharagpur is the best place to study architecture, according to the NIRF.

Importance of Ranking

  • Rankings help universities to improve their performance on various ranking parameters and identify gaps in research and areas of improvement
  • Rankings acts as a guide to students for selection of universities based on a set of criteria and helps universities to improve their performance on various ranking parameters and identify gaps in research and areas of improvement.
  • Ranking of Institutions at national level instill a competitive spirit amongst institutions to perform better and secure higher rank in international ranking.

About NIRF

  • The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was approved by the MHRD and launched on 29th September 2015.
  • This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country.
  • The methodology draws from the overall recommendations broad understanding arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions.
  • The parameters broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”.
  • It gives higher weight to parameters such as teaching and learning, student and faculty strength, use of financial resources, research papers and patents and graduation outcomes.
  • Keeping in mind the social responsibility aspect of education in a developing country, there is a unique provision to judge institutions on inclusivity and outreach measures, including gender, geographical and socioeconomic diversity and the welcoming of differently abled students.
  • 90% of the parameters in NIRF are completely objective and fact-based, while only 10% is based on the subjective parameter of perception by academic peers and employers.

2 . Hydroxychloroquine

Context: India has lifted the export ban on hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a potential “game changer” in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the News

  • Department of Pharmaceuticals has approved the lifting of ban on export of Hydroxychloroquine API as well as formulations.
  • Manufacturers, except export-oriented units and those in special economic zones, would still have to supply 20% of their production to the domestic market.


  • India is a leading exporter of generic medicines across the world had banned the export of the drug and its formulations in March as the coronavirus outbreak disrupted supply chains.
  • IPCA Laboratories and Cadila Healthcare are two leading Indian manufacturers of the drug.
  • India eased some of these restrictions in April

Lancet Report

  • A Lancet medical journal study found that hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients  but it was withdrawn a week later.

About HCQ

  • It is a drug used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • It is also used for the prevention of malaria and its treatment; it is a derivative of the antimalarial drug chloroquine.
  • The drug was invented during World War II.
  • On prophylactic use of HCQ for malaria, the US Centers for Disease Control says: “Hydroxychloroquine can only be used in places where chloroquine… is still effective. There are only a few places left in the world where hydroxychloroquine is still effective including parts of Central America and the Caribbean.”
  • According to the Johns Hopkins University Lupus Center, the anti-malarial medication has been shown to improve symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, skin rashes, inflammation of the heart and lung linings, fatigue, and fever.

3 . Universal Basic Income

Context: In its report on human rights in India, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has informed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the recommended implementation of a universal basic income was “under examination and active consideration” of the Centre.


  • Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
  • It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
  • The Council is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly.
  • 47 elected United Nations Member States serve for an initial period of 3 years, and cannot be elected for more than two consecutive terms.
  • The Human Rights Council replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

About Universal Periodic Review

  • Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States.
  • The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. 
  • As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.
  • The ultimate aim of this mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists.

About the News

  • As a part of the third round of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, which is done every four-and-a-half-years, the NHRC submitted its mid-term report to the UN agency recently.
  • The report, dated “May 2020”, reviewed the implementation of 152 recommendations of the UPR Working Group that the Indian government had accepted in September 2017.
  • One of the recommendations was: “Continue studying the possibility of a universal basic income as a way to further reduce poverty levels with a view to possibly phasing out the existing social protection system, in full consultation with all stakeholders.”

What is Universal Basic Income

  • The Universal Basic Income, implementation of which has repeatedly been debated in India, seeks to alleviate poverty by providing a basic income to all citizens of a particular state or geographical area, irrespective of their income, social standing, or employment status.
  • The idea behind a basic income is that all are entitled to a reasonable income, notwithstanding their contribution to the economy.
  • The BIEN (Basic Income Earth Network) — a network of academicians advocating for UBI to all — describes basic income as a “periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement.


  • Periodic – being paid at regular intervals, not lump sum
  • Cash payment -not in kind or vouchers, leaving it on the recipient to spend it as they like
  • Individual- Not to households or families
  • Universal -for all
  • Unconditional -irrespective of income or prospects of job

Merits of UBI

  • Universal Basic Income promotes many of the basic values of a society which respects all individuals as free and equal.
  • It promotes liberty because it is anti-paternalistic, opens up the possibility of flexibility in labour markets.
  • It promotes equality by reducing poverty.
  • It promotes efficiency by reducing waste in government transfers.
  • It could, under some circumstances, even promote greater productivity

Demerits of UBI

  • Huge financial resources are needed
  • Might reduce incentive to work
  • It can potentially shrink labour participation
  • Market risk exposure
  • Gender disparity
  • Successful Implementation can be difficult in a country of over 120 crore

4 . Indian Gaur

Context : The first population estimation exercise of the Indian gaur carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division in recent years, which was conducted in February of this year, has revealed that more than an estimated 2,000 Indian gaurs inhabit the entire division.

Key Observation

  • Exercise revealed that the majority of the animals in “conflict-prone” areas in the division live perilously close to human habitations due to habitat loss and fragmentation, exacerbating the probability of having problematic interactions with humans.
  • According to statistics revealed by the Forest Department, 794 gaurs were directly sighted over a one-week period during the exercise. The direct sightings were by the Department staff and volunteers who were involved in the exercise.
  • The Department officials said that the decision to also estimate the population of Indian gaur, alongside other major fauna in the division, especially around the major towns of Coonoor, Udhagamandalam, Kotagiri and Kundah was necessitated by an increase in the number of problematic human-gaur interactions in the Nilgiris over the last few years

About Indian Gaurs

  • The gaur, Bos gaurus, also called the Indian bison, is one of the largest extant bovines.
  • Gaurs are the world’s largest and tallest wild bovines, with 85% of their current population found in India. 
  • It is also found in India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.
  • Gaurs are diurnal animals (active during the day). The are mainly active early mainly active early in the morning and late in the afternoon. in areas close to humans, gaurs can change their normal routine and become nocturnal, animal (active during the night
  • Gaurs produce different type of sounds for communication.
  • Gaurs are territorial animals
  • State animal of Goa State.
  • Indian Gaur is listed as Schedule I species under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and is tagged as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

5 . Sero Survey on Covid

Context : The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday asserted that the country is definitely not in COVID-19 community transmission phase, and released the results of the first sero-survey on the pandemic spread that stated the urban slum population was most vulnerable to the spread, followed by urban settlement.

About Sero Survey

  • A sero-survey involves the drawing of blood from a representative sample of people to look for specific blood components, in this case the immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody developed by an individual against SARS CoV-2. Anyone who has been infected by Covid-19 will have the antibody.
  • The surveillance will be conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Centre for Disease Cont
  • The facility-oriented surveillance is an expansion of the testing of flu and serious respiratory cases in hospitals being carried out by the government.

Why sero-testing?

  • A more focused population-based sero-survey of high and low-risk groups in select districts will be in addition to routine testing.
  • The move will not only help the government and its agencies monitor Covid19 trends but also check for community transmission in any part of the country.

Result of Sero Survey

  • According to survey urban slum population was most vulnerable to the spread, followed by urban settlement.
  • “The ICMR has calculated that compared to rural areas, the risk of spread was 1.09 times higher in urban areas and 1.89 times higher in urban slums. The infection fatality rate is very low at 0.08%
  • Sero-surveillance study, conducted in 83 districts covering 28,595 households and 26,400 individuals by the ICMR along with other agencies in May, also reveals that 0.73% of the population surveyed showed evidence of past exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
  • The sero-surveillance study has two parts. The primary task of estimating the fraction of people who have been infected in general population has been completed and the second objective of estimating the infected population in containment zones of hotspot cities is in the process of completion.

6 . Right to reservation not a Fundamental Right

Context : The right to reservation is not a fundamental one, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.


In a ruling in February, the SC had held there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in public jobs and no court can order a state to provide for reservation to SC/STs.

About the Petition

  • The court declined to entertain a clutch of petitions by political parties from Tamil Nadu seeking direction to the Centre to implement 50 per cent OBC quota in seats surrendered by the state in the all-India quota for undergraduate and post-graduate medical and dental courses for 2020-21.
  • During the hearing, the bench questioned why a writ petition under Article 32 had been filed and pointed out that it can be done only in case of violation of fundamental rights. It sought to know whose fundamental rights had been violated in the case.
  • Bench made it clear that it does not intend to consider the petitions as right to reservation is not a fundamental right,

7 . Rights Issue

What is rights issue?

  • A rights issues is a mechanism by which companies can raise additional capital from existing shareholders.
  • While existing shareholders may not necessarily be able to participate in other fund-raising mechanisms like QIPs, preferential allotment etc, rights issue is a more democratic approach to raising funds as it allows the existing shareholders the right to invest first in the company.

Why are companies going for rights issue in current times?

  • For a rights issue, there is no requirement of shareholders’ meeting and an approval from the board of directors is sufficient and adequate.
  • Therefore, the turnaround time for raising this capital is short and is much suited for the current situation unlike other forms that require shareholders’ approval and may take some time to fructify.
  • Thus the rights issue are a more efficient mechanism of raising capital.

Why are companies going for rights issue in current times?

  • For a rights issue, there is no requirement of shareholders’ meeting and an approval from the board of directors is sufficient and adequate. Therefore, the turnaround time for raising this capital is short and is much suited for the current situation unlike other forms that require shareholders’ approval and may take some time to fructify.
  • Thus the rights issue are a more efficient mechanism of raising capital.

Has the regulator made changes to ease rights issue?

  • Over the last one year, SEBI has undertaken significant steps to reform the rights issue process. While SEBI made some permanent reforms in the process, it also provided some temporary relaxations in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

What were the temporary relaxations provided in the wake of Covid-19 by SEBI?

  • In a bid to expand the universe of listed entities that are eligible for raising funds through fast track rights issuance and ease the process for companies to raise funds during the present crisis, SEBI relaxed certain guidelines for right issues that open on or before March 31, 2021.
  • While it reduced the eligibility requirement of average market capitalisation of public shareholding from Rs 250 crore to Rs 100 crore for a fast track rights issuance, the regulator also reduced the minimum subscription requirement from 90 per cent to 75 per cent of the issue size. Also, listed entities raising funds upto Rs 25 crores (erstwhile limit was Rs 10 crores) through a rights issue are now not required to file draft offer document with SEBI.

8 . Facts for Prelims

Digital Jeevan Pramaan

  • “In recognition of the need to bring service delivery closer to the doorstep of EPS pensioners, especially during the challenging times of COVID -19 pandemic, EPFO has partnered with CSCs [Common Service Centres] to provide the facility to submit Digital Jeevan Pramaan.
  • By leveraging the last mile network of over 3.65 lakh CSCs, EPFO provides its 65 lakh pensioners facility to submit Digital Jeevan Pramaan closer to their residence,” an EPFO statement said.
  • The pensioners are required to submit the certificates every year to continue receiving pension.

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action