Daily Current Affairs : 4/2/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme
  2. Tax Rebate
  3. Endosulfan
  4. Drug price monitor

1 . Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme

Context : In the interim Budget speech on Friday, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal announced the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme.  The government will start disbursing a substantial amount under the income support scheme for small farmers this month itself

About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme

  • Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
  • This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each.
  • This programme will be funded by Government of India. Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this.
  • The programme would be made effective from 1st December 2018 and the first installment for the period upto 31st March 2019 would be paid during this year itself.
  • This programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs.75,000 crore
  • PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season. PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.

2 . Income Tax Rebate

Context : Interim Budget provided for tax rebates for those earning up to Rs. 5 lakh

What is Income Tax Rebate

  • A rebate is simply a concession put on an amount. You have to pay tax on the income which is saved after exemption and deduction. According to Section 87A, if your annual income is less than 3 lakh under the existing provisions, then you can claim a rebate of up to Rs 2,500. Now, the limit of Income-tax Rebate under section 87A has been increased to Rs 12,500 from Rs 2,500 for taxpayers having income up to 5 lakh.
  • It is applicable for only a limited number of individuals, in this case as the finance minister said, for around three crore individuals.

3 . Endosulfan

Context : The representatives of the victims of endosulfan poisoning in Kasaragod district called off their five-day-old sit-in in front of the Secretariat on Sunday after the State government conceded to their demand to bring more affected families within the ambit of the State’s compensation and rehabilitation programme.

What is Endosulfan

  • It is a widely-banned pesticide with hazardous effects on human genetic and endocrine systems.


  • In 2011 Global consensus reached on adding endosulfan to list of banned substances and phasing it out as an agrichemical
  • Use of endosulfan banned by Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • Under pressure from pesticide firms, India sought remission on the ban for 10 years


  • Sprayed on crops like cotton, cashew, fruits, tea, paddy, tobacco etc. for control of pests in agriculture such as whiteflies, aphids, beetles, worms etc.

Effects of Endosulfan

  • Delayed reproductive development 
    (late sexual maturity)
  • Autism
  • Bioaccumulation (substance does not leave body)
  • Endocrine disruption (stunting of hormones)
  • Long-range contamination
  • Neurotoxicity – Endosulfan blocks the inhibitory receptors of the CNS, disrupts the ionic channels and destroys the integrity of the nerve cells. ~ report of fact-finding mission
  • Long-range contamination
  • Sensory Loss

Kasargod Disaster

  • From the mid-70s, Kerala villages used aerial spraying of endosulfan on 4,600-ha. cashew nut plantation. Locals reportedly experienced illnesses, palsies and deformities

Current Status

  • In May 13, 2011 Supreme Court of India issues temporary ban on production, storage and sale of endosulfan
  • Kerala and Karnataka are the only States which do not use the pesticide

4 . Drug Price Monitoring and research unit

Context : Kerala has become the first State to set up a price monitoring and research unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).


  • Pharma companies have been accused of overcharging prices of drugs in the scheduled category fixed by the DPCO and those outside its ambit too.
  • The suggestion to set up PMRUs was made against the backdrop of the lack of a field-level link between the NPPA and the State Drugs Controllers and State Drug Inspectors to monitor drug prices.

How the Initiative will help

  • The new watchdog will offer technical help to the State Drug Controllers and the NPPA to monitor notified prices of medicines, detect violation of the provisions of the DPCO, look at price compliance, collect test samples of medicines, and collect and compile market-based data of scheduled as well as non-scheduled formulations.
  • NPPA had fixed the prices of around 1,000 drugs and the unit would track if buyers were being overcharged.
  • It would also check if pharma companies were hiking the prices of non-scheduled drugs by more than 10% a year. “
  • Will also check if there is any shortage of essential medicines.
  • There is also a plan to collect data on the prices of surgical devices and stents in the market

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