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Daily Hindu notes for UPSC IAS preparation

General Studies-02

China orders North Korean business on its soil closed under UN curbs

News:

  • China on Thursday ordered North Korean-owned businesses on its soil to close, cutting foreign revenue for the isolated North under U.N. sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programs.

Beyond news:

  • China is North Korea’s main trading partner, making Beijing’s cooperation essential to the success of sanctions aimed at stopping the North’s pursuit of weapons technology.
  • China, long North Korea’s diplomatic protector, has gone along with the latest penalties out of growing frustration with leader Kim Jong Un’s government.
  • North Korean businesses and ventures with Chinese partners must close within 120 days of the U.N. Security Council’s September 11 approval of the latest sanctions, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Proposal made to swap Kulbhushan Jadhav for terrorist: Pakistan Foreign Minister.

News:

Pakistan received a proposal to swap Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for a terrorist who carried out the horrific 2014 Peshawar school attack and is now jailed in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif has claimed.

Beyond News:

  • There is no mention to the name of the terrorist and the National Security Advisor who made the proposal.
  • Mr. Jadhav, a 46-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by Pakistan’s Field General Court Martial in April for his alleged “involvement in espionage and sabotage activities” against Pakistan.
  • India has accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by repeatedly denying consular access to Mr. Jadhav.
  • In a hearing of the case on May 18, a 10-member bench of the Inyernational Court of Justice (ICJ) restrained Pakistan from executing Mr. Jadhav.
  • Pakistan has said the Indian national would not be executed until he has exhausted his mercy appeals.
  • The Pakistan Taliban had claimed responsibility for the gruesome Peshawar school attack in 2014 in which nearly 150 people, mostly school children, were killed.

BHU appoints its first woman chief proctor

News:

  • Chief Proctor of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) O.N. Singh resigned late on Tuesday, taking “moral responsibility” for the lathi charge on students demanding justice for a colleague who was molested on the campus.

Beyond news:

  • The incidents on the campus over the last few days has raised questions on the safety of women students in one of Asia’s largest residential campuses.
  • The BHU is spread over a sprawling 1,360 acres.
  • Vehicular movement around hostels will now be restricted and better lighting will be provided at night.
  • CCTV cameras will be installed at sensitive places within the campus and a mechanism for checking of vehicles will also be implemented.
  • Women guards will soon be deployed in girls’ hostels while a committee will be formed at the hostel level to provide suggestions to the administration on the safety demands and other necessary issues faced by those staying in the hostels.
  • A dedicated helpline number will also be started.

{Op-Ed}Falling off the health-care radar

Key aspect:

  • The National Health Policy (NHP), 2017 is unable to see the wood for the trees. Life and death questions are dealt with perfunctorily or simply overlooked.

For example, it overlooks the rapid rise in the share of the old (60 years or more), and associated morbidities, especially sharply rising non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and disabilities. With rising age, numerous physiological changes occur and the risk of chronic diseases rises. The co-occurrence of chronic diseases and disability elevates the risk of mortality.

Loneliness & isolation:

  • Loneliness is a perceived isolation that manifests in the distressing feeling that accompanies discrepancies between one’s desired and actual social relationships.
  • The link between loneliness and mortality is mediated by unhealthy behaviours and morbidity.
  • The fact that loneliness predicts health outcomes even if health behaviours are unchanged suggests that loneliness alters physiology at a more fundamental level.
  • Research shows that loneliness increases vascular resistance and diminishes immunity.

From a policy perspective, health systems have to be configured to deal with not one NCD but multiple NCDs to manage them better. The impact of multi-morbidity on an old person’s capacity, health-care utilisation and the costs of care are significantly larger than the summed effects of each. Besides, the reconfigured medical system must be complemented by stronger family ties and social networks. This is not as Utopian as it may seem as examples of such complementarities abound.

General Studies-03

{op-Ed}Policy flip-flops risk harming ‘Make in India’ drive.

 

  • General Electric has warned the Indian government it risks losing jobs and having to pay “substantial” penalties if it follows through on a threat to cancel a $2.6bn contract for railway engines.

Key aspect :

  • Surprise policy shifts, such as an apparent U-turn over a locomotive deal with General Electric (GE), risk undermining Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative, which aims to create millions of jobs and boost growth.

About GE:

  • GE won the $2.6 billion contract in 2015 to supply 1,000 diesel locomotives — the biggest direct investment in India by a U.S. firm and the first deal awarded to a foreign firm after India allowed 100 per cent foreign investment in railways – part of efforts to overhaul its creaking, colonial-era infrastructure.

Railway ministries stand:

  • Railway Ministry said last week that it wouldn’t need diesel after all — hoping to save on fuel and maintenance costs — and suggested GE might want to make electric engines instead.
  • Electric engines are usually used for passenger trains, while diesel is used for freight. Around 25-30 percent of India’s locomotives are diesel-engined.

immediate impact:

  • The policy shift could cost New Delhi in compensation – GE is already building a factory for the diesel locos – but executives and investors say it is also an important test for a government that needs foreign investment to create jobs and reboot growth ahead of a 2019 general election.
  • GE has already shipped its first diesel locomotive to India and is completing the factory.
  • It has created around 1,000 jobs at the plant and a maintenance shed, and 5,000 jobs in the supplier network.

The way the wind blows

  • Over the past few months, two seemingly conflicting developments have emerged around wind energy in Tamil Nadu.
  1. The first is a milestone for the wind energy sector in the State. On July 11, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) evacuated more than 5,000 MW of wind power, replacing almost 1,000 MW of thermal power and operating several other plants at half capacity. Wind power accounted for almost a third of the State’s electricity demand that day.
  2. Second revolves around the bleak market sentiment for wind developers in the State and across the country. In February this year, India took baby steps towards discovering wind energy tariffs through auctions rather than feed-in tariffs fixed by regulatory commissions.
  • Under the first auctions held for 1,000 MW, wind prices fell to a new low at 3.46 per unit from the previous low of 4.16 per unit fixed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission.
  • Tamil Nadu recently announced its plans to procure 500 MW through auctions with a base price of 3.46 per unit, but the wind energy companies filed a petition with the Madras High Court opposing the move since they felt that it would cut into their profit margins.
  • The court allowed Tangedco to go ahead with the auctions, which led to another record low price of ₹3.42 per unit.

CCS clears internal security scheme

News:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a ₹25,000-crore internal security scheme to strengthen the country’s law and order mechanism and mordernise the police forces, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.

Beyond news:

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for the implementation of the umbrella scheme, Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF), for 2017-18 to 2019-20.
  • A Central budget outlay of ₹10,132 crore had been earmarked for internal security-related expenditure for Jammu and Kashmir, northeastern States and those affected by left wing extremism (LWE).
  • A scheme for special Central assistance (SCA) for 35 districts worst hit by LWE had been introduced with an outlay of ₹3,000 crore to tackle the issue of underdevelopment.
  • An outlay of ₹100 crore had been earmarked for police infrastructure upgradation, training institutes, investigation facilities, etc. in the northeastern States.

General Studies-04

Bajrang Dal prevents marriage of Hindu girl with Muslim boy in Meerut

News:

  • Workers of the Bajrang Dal on Wednesday prevented the marriage of a Hindu girl with a Muslim boy in Meerut on Wednesday.

Beyond news:

  • They accused the police of facilitating ”love jihad.”
  • The Meerut incident comes four days after a similar one in Hapur, where sangh parivar workers tried to assault Shoeb Alam and Vidya who got married and were living together in Dev Lok Colony.
  • The police told the Hindutva activists that it was not a case of “love jihad” as Vidya married Shoeb out of her own will and was living with him willingly.

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