Daily Current Affairs : 1st July

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

  1. Black money
  2. NASA’s PUNCH Mission
  3. Nirbhaya Fund
  4. Rare Diseases
  5. Fast Radio Bursts
  6. Nagaland NRC
  7. Self care interventions for Health
  8. NALSA

1 . Black money

Context : Standing Committee on Finance recently came out with its report on the ‘status of unaccounted income and wealth both inside and outside the country’ in which, after consulting three premier think-tanks and doing multiple analyses using various methods, it came to the conclusion that there was no reliable way to quantify black money whether in India or abroad.

What is black money?

  • There is no official definition of black money in economic theory, with several different terms such as parallel economy, black money, black incomes, unaccounted economy, illegal economy and irregular economy all being used more or less synonymously.
  • The simplest definition of black money could possibly be money that is hidden from tax authorities. That is, black money can come from two broad categories: illegal activity and legal but unreported activity.
  • The first category is the more obvious of the two. Money that is earned through illegal activity is not reported to the tax authorities, and so is black.
  • The second category comprises income from legal activity that is not reported to the tax authorities. eg cash payment without receipts
  • Another major source of black money is income earned by companies that is routed through shell companies abroad, thereby evading tax authorities.

Why is it difficult to measure it?

  • The very definition of black money makes it extremely difficult to quantify. How is the government supposed to measure the economic activity that is actively being hidden from it?
  • According to the Standing Committee’s report, the sectors that see the highest incidence of black money include real estate, mining, pharmaceuticals, pan masala, the gutkha and tobacco industry, bullion and commodity markets, the film industry, and educational institutes and professionals.
  • As the report also notes, neither are there reliable estimates of black money generation or accumulation and nor is there an accurate well-accepted methodology to make such an estimation. Every estimate depends upon the underlying assumptions made by the designers of the measurement, and so far there is no uniformity in the assumptions made by the various agencies tasked with measuring the black economy.
  • The estimates of the black money in the system provided by the Standing Committee vary from 7% of GDP to 120% of GDP, highlighting the wide variance in the methods of estimation.

Methods used

  • One of the more popular methods is the monetary method. This method assumes that the existence of and changes in the share of unaccounted income is reflected in the stock or flow of money in the system. In other words, track the money in the economy and you’ll get an idea of how much has not been accounted for.
  • Another method is the global indicator or input-based method. In this method, unaccounted income is modelled using a single universal variable with which it is assumed to be highly correlated, therefore these estimates are also called input-based estimates. Basically, the estimated level of activity in these indicators is compared to the reported level of GDP to arrive at an estimate of under-reporting. One common input used in this method is the quantity of land freight transport. The idea is that matching the actual amount of freight transported in the country to the reported amount of economic activity in the related sectors could give an estimate of how much is not being reported.
  • A third method to measure black money is a straightforward survey. This one, however, requires voluntary information from people and businesses concealing their incomes and so is prone to inaccuracies.

How can the Govt curb blackmoney

  • Legislative action : The government has already enacted several laws that seek to formalise the economy and make it necessary to report economic transactions. These include the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, the various GST Acts at the State levels, the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015, the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, and the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act to name a few.
  • Mandate the reporting of PAN for transactions of more than ₹2.5 lakh, and the prohibition of cash receipts of ₹2 lakh or more and a penalty equal to the amount of such receipts if a person contravenes the provision.
  • The Income Tax Department has also started monitoring non-filers of income tax returns using third-party information to identify persons who have undertaken high value financial transactions but not filed their returns.

2 . NASAs PUNCH Mission

Context : Dipankar Banerjee, solar physicist from Indian Institute of Astrophysics is also a Co-Investigator of the PUNCH mission.

About the PUNCH Mission

  • PUNCH, which stands for “Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere,” is focused on understanding the transition of particles from the Sun’s outer corona to the solar wind that fills interplanetary space.
  • The mission will image regions beyond the Sun’s outer corona.
  • PUNCH will consist of a ‘constellation’ of four suitcase-sized microsats that will orbit the Earth in formation and study how the corona, which is the atmosphere of the Sun, connects with the interplanetary medium. The mission is expected to be launched in 2022.
  • The mission will image and track the solar wind and also the coronal mass ejections – which are huge masses of plasma that get thrown out of the Sun’s atmosphere. The coronal mass ejections can affect and drive space weather events near the Earth.


Other missions such as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and the ESA-NASA joint project, Solar Orbiter, which is due to be launched in 2020, can study the structures of the Sun’s atmosphere. The PUNCH mission enhances these by tracking these structures in real time. Since the Sun’s corona is much fainter than its surface layers, it cannot be viewed by the instruments directly. So PUNCH will block out the light from the Sun to view its corona and the structures in it.

3 . Nirbhaya Fund

Context : The States and Union Territories have utilised less than 20% of the budget allocated to them under the Nirbhaya Fund for safety of women by the Central government between 2015 and 2018, according to official data.

About the issue

  • As per the data, of the ₹854.66 crore released by the Centre, a mere ₹165.48 crore has been spent by various States and UTs on different schemes launched by the Centre as well as other schemes for which the local governments sought funds.
  • The key schemes under which the States have been allocated money include Emergency Response Support System, Central Victim Compensation Fund, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children, One Stop Scheme, Mahila Police Volunteer, and Universalisation of Women Helpline Scheme.
  • The top five States ranked in terms of utilisation of money across various schemes under the Nirbhaya Fund were Chandigarh (59.83%), Mizoram (56.32%), Uttarakhand (51.68%), Andhra Pradesh (43.23%) and Nagaland (38.17%). However, the government data shows more money was utilised by Chandigarh than what was allocated to it under Central Victim Compensation Fund as well as Women Helpline Scheme.
  • The worst five States include Manipur, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep – which didn’t spend even a single penny – and were followed by West Bengal (0.76%) and Delhi (0.84%).
  • None of the 36 States and UTs have spent any money on the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children programme. The Centre disbursed ₹93.12 crore for this scheme in 2017.
  • As many 21 States have not used any money under the Central Victim Compensation Fund for providing support to victims of rape, acid attacks, human trafficking and women killed or injured in cross border firing

About Nirbhaya Fund

  • Nirbhaya Fund’ has been created to ensure dignity and safety of girl children and women.
  • Nirbhaya Fund was set up with a corpus of Rs. 1000 Cr. during 2013-14. Further, an amount of Rs 1000 Cr. was provided in 2014-15 and for the financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18, an amount of Rs. 550 cr. (each financial year) was provided under the Nirbhaya Fund.  The corpus transferred to the Public Account for the Nirbhaya fund upto 2017-18 is Rs. 3100 Cr.
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) is the nodal authority which can be approached by various Ministries/Departments with the proposals/schemes, to be funded from ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ targeted to strengthen the safety and security of women in the country.
  • Ministry of WCD would appraise these schemes to decide their suitability to qualify for getting funds from the ‘Nirbhaya Fund’.
  • Ministry of WCD shall forward the suitable proposals to Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) for necessary budgetary allocations in the respective Demands.  DEA shall appraise the proposal on financial and other aspects to avoid any duplicity of schemes/Government efforts to strengthen safety and security of women in the country.
  • Budget Division (DEA), with the approval of Finance Minister would approve the funding of schemes from the fund and would also be the nodal Ministry for any accretion into and withdrawal from the fund.
  • The respective line Ministries/Departments shall take necessary action for approval of SFC/EFC/PIB and Cabinet for implementation of the scheme on the ground.
  • Ministry of WCD shall be the nodal Ministry to review and monitor the progress of these schemes in conjunction with the line Ministries/Departments.   
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing three schemes under Nirbhaya Fund, namely, One Stop Centre (OSC), Women Helpline(WHL) and Mahila Police Volunteer.

4 . Rare Diseases

Context :

About Rare Diseases

  • A rare disease is a health condition of low prevalence that affects a small number of people compared with other prevalent diseases in the general population.
  • The field of rare diseases is complex, heterogeneous, continuously evolving and suffers from a deficit of medical and scientific knowledge.
  • As the number of persons suffering from individual rare diseases is small, they do not constitute a significant market for drug manufacturers to develop and bring to market drugs for them. For this reason, rare diseases are also called ‘orphan diseases’ and drugs to treat them are called “orphan drugs”.

Indian Scenario

  • In India he most common rare diseases include Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle-cell Anaemia and Primary Immuno Deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease, Hirschsprung disease, Gaucher’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemangiomas and certain forms of muscular dystrophies.
  • Rare diseases are not covered under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and there is no law that recognises medical disability, depriving patients of all facilities and benefits
  • The main challenges that patients and caregivers face include a lack of awareness among the medical fraternity and a lack of dedicated healthcare policies, schemes and diagnostic facilities, but worse is the absence of counselling or even just a database of rare diseases.

5 . Fast Radio Bursts

Context : In 2018, that burst zapped past a special telescope in Earth’s Australian outback, giving scientists a rare opportunity to shake hands with one of the most mysterious forms of energy in the universe. It’s the first time that astronomers have successfully tracked a one-off FRB back to its origins across space and time

About Fast Radio Bursts

  • Fast radio bursts are intense bursts of radio emission that have durations of milliseconds and exhibit the characteristic dispersion sweep of radio pulsars.
  • FRBs were first discovered in 2007, not all that long ago, and ever since, astronomers have been on the lookout for more radio bursts. A grand total of 85 have been discovered since then, some repeating in the same point. 
  • Understanding where FRBs come from allows scientists to probe the vast tracts of matter between their host galaxies and Earth, and maybe even locate undiscovered pockets of protons and neutrons thought to be lurking between galaxies

6 . Nagaland NRC

Context : The Nagaland government is set to prepare a list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state, a notification issued by home commissioner on Saturday said.

About Nagaland NRC

  • According to a notification issued the Government of Nagaland has decided to set up a Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) with the aim of preventing fake indigenous inhabitants certificates. The RIIN will be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state.

How will the list be prepared?

  • The RIIN list will be based on “an extensive survey”. It will involve official records of indigenous residents from rural and (urban) wards and would be prepared under the supervision of the district administration.
  • Designated teams of surveyors will be formed within seven days from the date of publication of the notification, and thereafter these teams will be sent across each village and ward.
  • The designated teams comprising Sub-Divisional Officers (SDO), Block Development Officers (BDO), Headmasters and other nominated members, will make a list of indigenous inhabitants in the state.
  • The database will note each family’s original residence, current residence as well as the concerned Aadhaar numbers.
  • This provisional list will then be published in all villages, wards and on government websites by September 11, 2019. Over the next 30 days, that is by October 30, 2019, claims and objections will be entertained.
  • Respondents will be given an opportunity to make their case before the authorities. Eventually, respective Deputy Commissioners will adjudicate on the claims and objections based on official records and the evidence produced. This process will be completed before December 10, 2019.

What will the unique identity look like?

  • Based on the adjudication and verification, a list of indigenous inhabitants will be finalised and each person will be given a unique ID.
  • The final list or the RIIN will be created and its copies will be placed in all villages and ward. Electronic copies of the list will also be stored in the State Data Centre. A mechanism or electronic and SMS-based authentication will be put in place. All indigenous inhabitants of the state would be issued a barcoded and numbered Indigenous Inhabitant Certificate.
  • The process will be conducted across Nagaland and will be done as part of the online system of Inner Line Permit (ILP), which is already in force in Nagaland.

About ILP

  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) is an official travel document required by Indian citizens residing outside certain “protected” states while entering them.
  • The ILP is issued by the Government of India and is obligatory for all those who reside outside the protected states. With the ILP, the government aims to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.
  • ILP’s origin dates back to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which protected the British Crown’s interest in tea, oil and elephant trade.
  • It prohibited “British subjects” or Indians from entering into these protected areas. After Independence, in 1950, the word “British subjects” was replaced by Citizens of India and the focus of the ban on free movement was explained as a bid to protect tribal cultures in northeastern India.

How will the RIIN be updated

  • Once the RIIN is finalised, no fresh indigenous inhabitant certificates will be issued except to newborn babies born to the indigenous inhabitants of Nagaland.
  • The notification issued by Nagaland Chief Secretary Temjen Toy states “… in case anyone who is left out of the RIIN, he/she will need to file an application before Home Commissioner who will get the matter verified and take necessary action for updating the RIIN if needed.”

7 . Guidelines on Self care interventions for Health

Context : The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched its first guidelines on self-care interventions for health in response to an estimate that by 2035 the world will face a shortage of nearly 13 million healthcare workers and the fact that currently at least 400 million people worldwide lack access to the most essential health services.

What is Self care

  • Self care is the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider
  • Self-care interventions represent a significant push towards new and greater self-efficacy, autonomy and engagement in health for self-carers and caregivers.


  • Self-care interventions could expand access to health services, including for vulnerable populations.
  • People are increasingly active participants in their own health care and have a right to a greater choice of interventions that meets their needs across their lifetime, but also should be able to access, control, and have affordable options to manage their health and well-being
  • Self-care is also a means for people who are negatively affected by gender, political, cultural and power dynamics, including those who are forcibly displaced, to have access to sexual and reproductive health services, as many people are unable to make decisions around sexuality and reproduction

Guidelines on Self care interventions for Health

  • Guidelines focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Some of the interventions include self-sampling for human papillomavirus (HPV) and sexually transmitted infections, self-injectable contraceptives, home-based ovulation predictor kits, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing and self-management of medical abortion.
  • These guidelines look at the scientific evidence for health benefits of certain interventions that can be done outside the conventional sector, although sometimes with the support of a health-care provider.
  • They do not replace high-quality health services nor are they a shortcut to achieving universal health coverage.

8 . National Legal Service Authority

Context : A majority of the people who are entitled to the free legal aid system see the service as an option only when they cannot afford a private lawyer.

About National Legal Service Authority

  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has been constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State. 
  • The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court who is the Patron-in-Chief of the State Legal Services Authority. 
  • In every District, District Legal Services Authority has been constituted to implement Legal Services Programmes in the District. The District Legal Services Authority is situated in the District Courts Complex in every District and chaired by the District Judge of the respective district..
  • Free legal services under LSA Act are available to a person belonging to Schedule Tribe and Schedule Caste, woman, child, victim of human trafficking, differently abled person, industrial workman, and person in custody in a protective home and the poor.

Constitutional Provisions which lead to Legal Services Authority Act 1987

  • In 1987, the Legal Services Authorities (LSA) Act was enacted to give free and competent legal services to the poor. The Act paved the way for the constitution of National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) and other legal service institutions at the State, district and taluka level.
  • Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
  • Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all. Legal aid strives to ensure that constitutional pledge is fulfilled in its letter and spirit and equal justice is made available to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society. 

About the issue

  • Pan-India research has found that people don’t have faith over the services of legal aid counsel (LAC) under the free legal aid services due to a variety of factors.
  • The study also found that 60% of women, who were aware of the free legal aid services, chose to opt for private legal practitioner because they could have better control over their lawyer.
  • These women have no faith and confidence over the quality of services offered under the legal aid system
  • Although the services offer by LAC are absolutely free, the ground reality is that around 16.30% of beneficiaries claimed their LAC often demand money before or after every court hearing.
  • LAC can withdraw from an aided case by submitting a reason to member-secretary. In this scenario, a beneficiary has to go through the painstaking task of retelling their case history to newly allotted LAC.


  • Currently, the engagement of LAC is usually on an ad-hoc basis, making them full time will definitely improve the level of commitment among the LAC.
  • Making honorarium for a legal aided case at par with private cases, will compel LAC to not withdraw or desert aided cases in middle.
  • Improving the selection process of panel lawyers to ensure selection and empanelment of committed lawyers.

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