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  • 22 Sep 2022
  • 59 min read
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Governance

Convergence Portal of the MoFPI

For Prelims: Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, APEDA, Food Processing Sector.

For Mains: Significance of Convergence Portal of the MoFPI, Pradhan Mantri Micro Food Industry Upgradation Scheme and its Need.

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has launched the Convergence Portal between the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) scheme, Pradhan Mantri Micro Food Enterprises Upgradation Scheme (PMFME) and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY).

  • A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was also issued with the objective of providing maximum benefits to the beneficiaries under AIF, PMFME and PMKSY.

What is the Convergence Module?

  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) along with Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, jointly launched a Convergence Portal to better reap the benefits of the Agriculture and Food Processing Sector.
  • It is launched on the idea that all Ministries and Departments of the Government should work together in cohesion to serve the people of the country to the best of their abilities.
  • The portal will prove to be very important for the Food Processing Enterprises of the country, benefiting different sections of the country, including farmers and small-scale entrepreneurs of the processing industry.
  • It is a stepping stone to achieve the Prime Minister's dream of an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat and will also boost the concept of ‘Vocal For Local’.

What is Pradhan Mantri Micro Food Industry Upgradation Scheme?

  • About:
    • It was launched by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in June, 2020 under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Campaign to enhance the competitiveness of individual micro enterprises.
    • It provides financial, technical and commercial assistance for the upgradation of micro food processing enterprises in the country.
    • The scheme adopts the One District One Product (ODOP) approach to reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.
    • It will be implemented over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • Funding:
    • It is a centrally sponsored scheme with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore.
    • The expenditure under the scheme would be shared in 60:40 ratio between Central and State Governments, in 90:10 ratio with North Eastern and Himalayan States, 60:40 ratio with UTs with legislature and 100% by Centre for other UTs.
  • Need:
    • The unorganized food processing sector comprising nearly 25 lakh units contributes to 74% of employment in the food processing sector.
    • Nearly 66% of these units are located in rural areas and about 80% of them are family-based enterprises supporting livelihood of rural households and minimising their migration to urban areas.
      • These units largely fall within the category of micro enterprises.
    • The unorganised food processing sector faces a number of challenges such as lack of access to modern technology & equipment, training, access institutional credit, lack of branding & marketing skills etc. which limit their performance and their growth.
  • Achievements:
    • So far about 62,000 beneficiaries engaged in food processing activities have benefitted from this scheme. Around 7,300 loans have been sanctioned under the scheme for setting up new micro food enterprises or for upgrading existing units.
    • The pace of loan approvals is expected to increase by 50% in the third quarter of 2022-23.

What is AIF?

  • Agriculture Infra Fund (AIF) is a financing facility launched in July 2020 for creation of post-harvest management infrastructure and community farm assets, with benefits including 3% interest subvention and credit guarantee support.
  • Under this, Rs 1 lakh crore from 2020-21 to 2025-26 provision of funds has been made and interest subvention and credit guarantee assistance will be given till the year 2032-33.
  • AIF scheme has the facility of convergence with any other scheme of State or Central Government, therefore in order to optimize the benefits of multiple government schemes for a particular project, these are being integrated with multiple external systems/portals.

What is Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sampada Yojna?

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana, a Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, is envisaged as a comprehensive package, which will result in creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
  • Seven component schemes under PMKSY:
    • Mega Food Parks.
    • Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters.
    • Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages.
    • Creation/Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.
    • Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure.
    • Human Resources and Institutions.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. With what purpose is the Government of India promoting the concept of “Mega Food Parks”? (2011)

  1. To provide good infrastructure facilities for the food processing industry.
  2. To increase the processing of perishable items and reduce wastage.
  3. To provide emerging and ecofriendly food processing technologies to entrepreneurs.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Exp:

  • The Scheme of “Mega Food Park” aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers, so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastage, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities, particularly in the rural sector. Hence, 2 is correct.
  • It envisages creation of state-of-the-art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri/horticultural zone for setting up of modern food processing units in the industrial plots provided in the park with wellestablished supply chain. Hence, 1 is correct.
  • It focuses on the creation of specialized storage facilities including controlled atmosphere chambers, pressure ventilators, variable humidity stores, precooling chambers, ripening chambers, cold chain infrastructure, including reefer vans, packaging unit, irradiation facilities, steam sterilization units, steam generating units, food incubation cum development centres, etc.
  • “Mega Food Park” scheme has no provision for providing eco-friendly food processing technologies to entrepreneurs. Hence, 3 is not correct.
  • Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

Mains

Q. Discuss the factors for localisation of agro-based food processing industries of North-West India. (2019)

Q. What are the challenges and opportunities of the food processing sector in the country? How can the income of the farmers be substantially increased by encouraging food processing? (2020)

Q. Elaborate the policy taken by the Government of India to meet the challenges of the food processing sector. (2019)

Q. Elaborate the scope and significance of the food processing industry in India. (2022)

Source: PIB


Indian Polity

Live-Streaming of the Supreme Court’s Proceedings

For Prelims: Supreme Court, High Court, Live Streaming of Proceedings, Chief justice of India, Attorney General of India

For Mains: Live Streaming of Supreme Court’s Proceedings, Concerns and the Way Forward

Why in News?

Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) decided to live stream its proceedings in crucial Constitution Bench cases that will be heard from 27th September, 2022.

  • Positive systemic corrections have been made possible due to the broadcast of court proceedings.

What is the Background?

  • The Supreme Court in Swapnil Tripathi vs Supreme Court of India (2018) had ruled in favour of opening up the apex court through live-streaming.
  • It held that the live streaming proceedings are part of the right to access justice under Article 21 (Protection of Life and Personal Liberty) of the Constitution
  • Gujarat High Court was the first high court to livestream court proceedings followed by Karnataka high court.
  • Currently, the Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Patna High Courts live stream their proceedings.
    • Allahabad High Court is considering power doing the same.

What were the Recommendations by the Attorney-General of India?

  • Live-streaming must be introduced as a pilot project in Chief-Justice of India’s (CJI’s) court, and only in Constitution Bench cases.
    • The success of this project will determine whether or not live streaming should be introduced in all courts i.e., the Supreme Court and in courts pan-India.
  • De-congestion of courts and improved physical access to courts for litigants who have to otherwise travel long distances to come to the SC were cited by the Attorney general (AG) in support of his recommendation.
  • A set of guidelines suggested by the A-G was approved by the SC. However, the A-G suggested that the court must retain the to withhold broadcasting, and also not permit it in cases involving:
    • Matrimonial matters
    • Matters involving interests of juveniles or the protection and safety of the private life of the young offenders
    • Matters of National security
    • To ensure that victims, witnesses or defendants can depose truthfully and without any fear.
      • Special protection must be given to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses.
      • It may provide for face distortion of the witness if she/he consents to the broadcast anonymously.
    • To protect confidential or sensitive information, including all matters relating to sexual assault and rape
    • Matters where publicity would be antithetical to the administration of justice, and
    • Cases which may provoke sentiments and arouse passion and provoke enmity among communities.

What is the Scenario in Other Countries?

  • United States: Since 1955, audio recording and transcripts of oral arguments has been allowed.
  • Australia: Live or delayed broadcasting is allowed but the practices and norms differ across courts.
  • Brazil: Since 2002, live video and audio broadcast of court proceedings, including the deliberations and voting process undertaken by the judges in court, is allowed.
  • Canada: Proceedings are broadcast live on Cable Parliamentary Affairs Channel, accompanied by explanations of each case and the overall processes and powers of the court.
  • South Africa: Since 2017, the Supreme Court of South Africa has allowed the media to broadcast court proceedings in criminal matters, as an extension of the right to freedom of expression.
  • United Kingdom: After 2005, proceedings are broadcast live with a one-minute delay on the court’s website, but coverage can be withdrawn in sensitive appeals.

What are Associated Concerns and the Way Forward?

  • Concerns:
    • Video clips of proceedings from Indian courts that are already there on YouTube and other social media platforms with sensational titles and little context are leading to the spread of misinformation among the public, as prevalent from the recent past.
    • Also, the commercial agreements with broadcasters are also concerning.
    • The unauthorised reproduction of live streaming videos is another cause for concern as its regulation will be very difficult at the government’s end.
  • Way Forward:
    • Broadcasting court proceedings is a step in the direction of transparency and greater access to the justice system. Citizens have the right to information and technology exists to make matters of constitutional and national importance available for public viewership.
      • If a live stream of the top court’s proceedings is not possible, alternatively video recording of the proceedings should be allowed.
    • The agreements with broadcasters should be on a non-commercial basis. No one should profit from the arrangement.
    • A set of guidelines must be framed to ensure that the video titles and description are not misleading and convey accurate information, only.
    • Strict punishment/penalty must be attached with the unauthorised reproduction of live-streaming of videos.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Right to Privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty. Which of the following in the Constitution of India correctly and appropriately imply the above statement? (2018)

(a) Article 14 and the provisions under the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution.

(b) Article 17 and the Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV.

(c) Article 21 and the freedoms guaranteed in Part III.

(d) Article 24 and the provisions under the 44th Amendment to the Constitution.

Ans: (c)

Exp:

  • In 2017, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) in its verdict in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India case unanimously affirmed that the Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right under the Indian Constitution.
  • The SC bench held that the privacy is a Fundamental Right as it is intrinsic to guarantee of life and personal liberty as provided under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • The bench also stated that the elements of privacy also arise in varying contexts from the other facets of freedom and dignity recognised and guaranteed by the Fundamental Rights contained in Part III of the Constitution.
  • Therefore, option (c) is the correct answer.

Source: IE


Ethics

Artificial Intelligence and Ethics

For Prelims: Application of AI, Machine Learning, Related Government Schemes, International Agreements

For Mains: Rules and Regulations for AI, Effect of AI on other Sectors and Society, Challenges and Initiatives for AI

Why in News?

UNESCO’s Global Agreement on the Ethics of AI can guide governments and companies alike.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

  • It describes the action of machines accomplishing tasks that have historically required human intelligence.
  • It includes technologies like machine learning, pattern recognition, big data, neural networks, self-algorithms etc.
  • The origin of the concept can be traced back to Greek mythology, although it is only during modern history when stored program electronic computers were developed.
    • Example: Millions of algorithms and codes are there around humans to understand their commands and perform human-like tasks. Facebook’s list of suggested friends for its users, a pop-up page, suggesting about an upcoming sale of the favourite brand of shoes and clothes, that comes on screen while browsing the internet, are the work of artificial intelligence.
  • AI involves complex things such as feeding a particular data into the machine and making it react as per different situations. It is basically about creating self-learning patterns where the machine can give answers to the never answered questions like a human would ever do.
  • India has made great strides in the development of responsible and ethical AI governance, starting with NITI Aayog’s #AIForAll campaign to the many corporate strategies that have been adopted to ensure that AI is developed with common, humanistic values at its core.

What are the Ethical Concerns related to Artificial Intelligence?

  • Risk of Unemployment: The hierarchy of labour is concerned primarily with automation. Robotics and AI companies are building intelligent machines that perform tasks typically carried out by low-income workers: self-service kiosks to replace cashiers, fruit-picking robots to replace field workers, etc.
    • Moreover, the day is not far when many desk jobs will also be edged out by AI, such as accountants, financial traders, and middle managers.
  • Exacerbating Inequalities: Using artificial intelligence, a company can drastically cut down on relying on the human workforce, and this means that revenues will go to fewer people.
    • Consequently, individuals who have ownership in AI-driven companies will make all the money. Also, AI could compound digital exclusion.
    • Further, investment is likely to shift to countries where AI-related work is already established, widening gaps among and within countries.
  • Tech Addiction: Technological addiction is the new frontier of human dependency. AI has already become effective at directing human attention and triggering certain actions.
    • When used right, this could evolve into an opportunity to nudge society towards more beneficial behavior.
    • However, in the wrong hands, it could prove detrimental.
  • Discriminating Robots: We shouldn’t forget that AI systems are created by humans, who can be biased and judgemental.
    • It can lead to AI facial recognition and surveillance technology to discriminate against people of color and minorities.
  • Data Privacy Concerns: AI also presents serious data privacy concerns. The algorithm’s never-ending quest for data has led to our digital footprints being harvested and sold without our knowledge or informed consent.
    • The case of Cambridge Analytica, in which such algorithms and big data were used to alter voting decisions, should serve as a potent warning of the individual and societal concerns resulting from current AI business models.
  • AI Turning against Humans: What if artificial intelligence itself turned against humans?
    • Imagine an AI system that is asked to eradicate cancer in the world. After a lot of computing, it spits out a formula that does, in fact, bring about the end of cancer – by killing everyone on the planet.

What are the Global Standards for Artificial Intelligence Ethics?

  • In 2021, the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence was adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference at its 41st session.
    • It aims to fundamentally shift the balance of power between people, and the businesses and governments developing AI.
  • UNESCO members have agreed to use affirmative action to make sure that women and minority groups are fairly represented on AI design teams.
  • The recommendation also underscores the importance of the proper management of data, privacy and access to information.
  • It calls on member states to ensure that appropriate safeguards are devised for the processing of sensitive data and effective accountability and redress mechanisms are provided.
  • The Recommendation takes a strong stance that
    • AI systems should not be used for social scoring or mass surveillance purposes
    • Attention must be paid to the psychological and cognitive impact that these systems can have on children.
    • Member states should invest and promote not only digital, media and information literacy skills, but also socio-emotional and AI ethics skills.
  • UNESCO is also in the process of developing tools to help assess the readiness in the implementation of the recommendations.

Way Forward

  • Given the global reach of AI, such a “whole of society” approach must rest on a “whole of world” approach.
  • The UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap on Digital Cooperation is a good starting point. It lays out the need for multi-stakeholder efforts on global cooperation so AI is used in a manner that is “trustworthy, human rights-based, safe and sustainable, and promotes peace”.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. “The emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution) has initiated e-Governance as an integral part of government”. Discuss. (2020)

Source: TH


Indian Economy

PLI Scheme for Solar Modules

For Prelims: PLI scheme for Solar Modules

For Mains: PLI scheme and its Significance, Issues with the PLI scheme

Why in News?

Recently, The Union Cabinet has cleared Production Linked incentive (PLI) of Rs 19,500 crore to incentivise manufacturing of domestic solar cell modules.

  • This is a follow-up to the RS ,500-crore tranche that was cleared in November 2020, aiming at reducing the industry’s reliance on China-made panels.
  • With the second tranche of the PLI scheme the government is hoping that about 65GW per annum manufacturing capacity of fully and partially integrated, solar PV modules would be installed in the country.

What is the Significance?

  • This would bring in a direct investment of around Rs 94,000 crore, directly employ about 1,95,000 and indirectly around 7,80,000 persons. It would save India close to Rs. 1.37 trillion in imports.
  • With these schemes we expect to have 70-80 GW of capacity which would take care of our domestic requirements as well as exports.
  • The PLI benefits coupled with State incentives under the industrial policies of the State government, concessional/ deferral duty schemes in customs will help in improving the IRR (Internal Rate of Return) of the project and make Indian-manufactured solar PV modules competitive in the market.

What is the PLI Scheme?

  • About:
    • The PLI scheme was conceived to scale up domestic manufacturing capability, accompanied by higher import substitution and employment generation.
    • The government has set aside Rs 1.97 lakh crore under the PLI schemes for various sectors and an additional allocation of Rs 19,500 crore was made towards PLI for solar PV modules in Budget 2022-23.
    • Launched in March 2020, the scheme initially targeted three industries:
      • Mobile and allied Component Manufacturing
      • Electrical Component Manufacturing and
      • Medical Devices
  • Incentives Under the Scheme:
    • The incentives, calculated on the basis of incremental sales, range from as low as 1% for the electronics and technology products to as high as 20% for the manufacturing of critical key starting drugs and certain drug intermediaries.
    • In some sectors such as advanced chemistry cell batteries, textile products and the drone industry, the incentive to be given will be calculated on the basis of sales, performance and local value addition done over the period of five years.
  • Sectors for which the PLI Scheme has been Announced:
  • Objectives:
    • The Government introduced this scheme to reduce India’s dependence on China and other foreign countries.
    • It supports the labor-intensive sectors and aims to increase the employment ratio in India.
    • This scheme works to reduce the import bills and boost domestic production.
      • However, PLI Yojana invites foreign companies to set up their units in India and encourages domestic enterprises to expand their production units.

What are the Challenges Facing the PLI Scheme?

  • No Common Set of Parameters:
    • There was no common set of parameters to understand the value addition by companies that have received or are likely to receive incentives under the PLI scheme.
    • At present, different ministries monitor the value addition of their respective PLI schemes and there is no way to compare two different schemes.
    • Also, there are various deliverables such as the number of jobs created, the rise in exports and quality improvement and there is no centralised database to gauge all these.
  • Target for Companies for Incentives too Steep:
    • Departments and ministries which interact with companies operating in their sector also face certain specific issues.
      • For instance, at times, the target for companies to qualify for incentives is too steep.
  • Domestic Companies Relied on One or Two Supply Chains:
    • Until 2021, only 3-4 companies managed to achieve the incremental sales targets to qualify for the PLI scheme from the fourteen companies that had been approved.
    • Unlike global companies, most domestic companies relied on one or two supply chains which have been severely disrupted and due to no fault of their own, these companies won’t qualify for the incentive.

Way Forward

  • If the demand is stagnant, there is less investment since there is a cost of capital as well as cost of holding inventory involved, therefore investment needs to go beyond the PLI related to manufacturing to address challenges in terms of demand.
  • There is a need to look at all sectors when providing incentives, and not just manufacturing.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PVQ)

Q. To what factors can be the recent dramatic fall in equipment costs and tariff of solar energy be attributed? What implications does the trend have for thermal power producers and related industry? (2015)

Source: TH


International Relations

Promote Common Security Through Dialogue and Cooperation: UNSC

For Prelims: UNSC and its features, International Code of Justice.

For Mains: Promote Common Security Through Dialogue and Cooperation, UNSC Meeting.

Why in News?

Recently, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN addressed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on the topic ‘Promote Common Security Through Dialogue and Cooperation.

  • The UNSC meeting was convened at the behest of China, the president of the Security Council for August 2022 and a veto-wielding member of the 15-member Council.

What are the Key Highlights of the Address?

  • All countries should respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect international agreements.
  • Common security was only possible when countries stand together on terrorism and do not practice double standards on the issue and when they do not take unilateral measures to back out of agreements.
  • India called for multilateral reform, particularly at the Security Council, saying common security among nations could not be aspired for if the common good of the global south was denied representation.
    • The most urgent thing is to make the Security Council more representative of developing countries so as to reflect current geopolitical realities, the African continent should also have permanent representation on the Council.
  • An armed conflict in one part of the world has cascading effects on the people of another.
    • We have seen the effect of the Ukraine Conflict on other developing countries, particularly, on the supply of food grains, fertilizer and fuel.
  • The impact of the Crisis in Afghanistan is still being felt throughout the region.
  • China has repeatedly blocked the attempts of India and the US at the UN to blacklist Pakistan-based terrorists.
  • While emphasizing on Common Security, India targeted China, which has violated border pacts by amassing its military in eastern Ladakh in 2020.
    • The eastern Ladakh border standoff between India and China erupted on 5th May, 2020, following a violent clash in the Pangong lake areas.
    • Both sides gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.
  • China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.

What is UNSC?

  • About:
    • The Security Council was established by the UN Charter in 1945. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
      • The other 5 organs of the United Nations are—the General Assembly (UNGA), the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
    • The UNSC, with a mandate to maintain international peace and security, is the centrepiece of global multilateralism.
    • It selects the UN Secretary-General and plays a co-terminus role with the UN General Assembly in electing judges to the International Court of Justice.
      • Its resolutions, adopted under chapter VII of the UN charter, are binding on all countries.
  • Composition:
    • The UNSC is composed of 15 members, 5 permanent and 10 non-permanent.
    • Five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
    • Ten non-permanent members: Elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
      • Five from African and Asian States,
      • One from Eastern European States,
      • Two from Latin American States,
      • Two from Western European and other States.
  • India’s Membership:
    • India has served seven times in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member and in January 2021, India entered the UNSC for the eighth time.
    • India has been advocating a permanent seat in UNSC.
  • Voting Powers:
    • Each member of the Security Council has one vote. Decisions of the Security Council on matters are made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members.
    • A "No" vote from one of the five permanent members blocks the passage of the resolution.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. The Security Council of UN consists of 5 permanent members, and the remaining 10 members are elected by the General Assembly for a term of (2009)

(a) 1 year
(b) 2 years
(c) 3 years
(d) 5 years

Ans: (b)


Mains

Q. Discuss the impediments India is facing in its pursuit of a permanent seat in UN Security Council. (2015)

Source: TH


Indian Heritage & Culture

Ayurveda in India

For Prelims: Ayurveda, Ayurveda Initiatives

For Mains: Ayurveda, Challenges in Ayurveda, Government Initiatives

Why in News?

Ayurveda, India’s traditional medicine, has been in practice for close to 3,000 years and has been serving the health-care needs of millions of Indians.

  • Ayurveda, for long, has been facing challenges to address a few areas, which need to be discussed.

What is Ayurveda?

  • About:
    • The word Ayurveda derived from AYU and VEDA. AYU means life, VEDA means science or knowledge, Ayurveda means the science of life.
    • Ayurveda embraces all living things, human and non-human.
    • It is divided into three main branches
      • Nara Ayurveda: dealing with human life.
      • Satva Ayurveda: dealing with animal life and its diseases.
      • Vriksha Ayurveda: dealing with plant life, its growth and diseases.
    • Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine but also a way of life for complete positive health and spiritual attainments.
  • Practice of Ayurveda:
    • The Indian Medical Council which was set up in 1971 establishes suitable qualifications in Indian medicine and recognizes various forms of traditional practice including Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha.
    • Ayurveda has both preventive and curative aspects.
      • The preventive component emphasizes the need for a strict code of personal and social hygiene, the details of which depend upon individual, climatic, and environmental needs.
      • The curative aspects of Ayurveda involve the use of herbal medicines, external preparations, physiotherapy, and diet.
        • It is a principle of Ayurveda that the preventive and therapeutic measures be adapted to the personal requirements of each patient.
  • Significance:
    • In Ayurveda it is believed living man is a conglomeration of three humors (Vata, Pitta & Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra) and the waste products of the body i.e., mala, mutra and sweda.
      • The growth and decay of this body matrix and its constituents revolve psychological mechanisms of these elements and its balance is the main reason for the state of one’s health.
    • The treatment approach in the Ayurveda system is holistic and individualized, having preventive, curative, mitigative, recuperative and rehabilitative aspects.
    • The principal objectives of Ayurveda are maintenance and promotion of health, prevention of disease and cure of sickness.

What are the Key Challenges faced by Ayurveda in the Modern World?

  • Outdated Ideas:
    • On benefits of physical exercise, Ayurveda states “A sense of ease, improved fitness, easy digestion, ideal body-weight, and handsomeness of bodily features are the benefits that would accrue from regular exercise.”
      • However, such continued validity cannot be claimed for the physiological and pathological conjectures the same text contains.
    • On urine formation, the Ayurveda text posits that tiny ducts from the intestines carry urine to fill the bladder. This simplistic scheme of urine formation has no role for the kidneys at all.
      • This outdated idea can have no place in current medical education except as an anecdote from history.
  • Ineffective Treatment in Emergency Cases:
    • The inadequacies of Ayurveda in treating acute infections and other emergencies including surgery, and lack of meaningful research in therapeutics continue to limit the universal acceptance of Ayurveda.
    • Ayurveda therapeutics are complex and there are too many dos and don’ts.
    • Ayurvedic medicines are slow to act and heal. It is difficult if not impossible to predict a response or prognosis.
  • Lack of Homogeneity:
    • The medical practices in Ayurveda are not uniform. It is because the medicinal plants used in it vary with geography and climate and local agriculture practices.
    • Unlike Ayurveda, in modern medicine, the diseases are classified and treated as per prior set uniform criteria.
  • Misleading Propaganda by Ayurvedic Pharmas:
    • The Ayurvedic pharmacopeia industry claimed that its manufacturing practices were consistent with the classic Ayurveda texts.
    • For better market appeal of ayurvedic medicines, the pharmaceutical companies publicized many medicinal claims about their ayurvedic products without sufficient scientific basis.
    • This led to further obsession for drugs in the community and ailments requiring lifestyle correction were instead treated with poly-pharmacy.

What Initiatives has the Government taken for Development of Ayurveda?

Way Forward

  • Reverse Pharmacology:
    • It is defined as the science of integrating documented clinical experiences and experiential observations into leads, through transdisciplinary exploratory studies, to develop these into drugs.
  • New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI):
    • It seeks to build, capture and retain for India a leadership position by synergising the best competencies of publicly funded R&D institutions, academia and private industry.
  • Emulating Kerala Model:
    • Kerala has been promoting Ayurveda as a way of improving immunity in the general population. It promotes Ayurvedic formulations and recommends Ayurveda practices to all demographics of its population.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. How is the Government of India protecting traditional knowledge of medicine from patenting by pharmaceutical companies? (2019)

Source: TH


Indian Economy

PCA Framework

For Prelims: RBI, NPA, Financial Stability and Development Council, Scheduled Commercial Banks, Return of Assets.

For Mains: Prompt Corrective Action Framework.

Why in News?

Recently, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has removed the Central Bank of India (CBI) from its Prompt Corrective Action Framework (PCAF) after CBI showed improvement in various financial ratios, including minimum regulatory capital and Net Non-Performing Assets (NNPAs).

  • The RBI had imposed the PCA norms on CBI in June 2017 due to its high net NPA and Negative Return of Assets (RoA).

What is PCAF?

  • Background:
    • PCA is a framework under which banks with weak financial metrics are put under watch by the RBI.
    • The RBI introduced the PCA framework in 2002 as a structured early-intervention mechanism for banks that become undercapitalised due to poor asset quality, or vulnerable due to loss of profitability.
    • The framework was reviewed in 2017 based on the recommendations of the working group of the Financial Stability and Development Council on Resolution Regimes for Financial Institutions in India and the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission.
  • Parameters:
    • The RBI has specified certain regulatory trigger points, as a part of PCA Framework, in terms of three parameters, i.e., Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR), net Non-Performing Assets (NPA) and Return on Assets (RoA)
  • Objective:
    • The objective of the PCA framework is to enable supervisory intervention at an appropriate time and require the supervised entity to initiate and implement remedial measures in a timely manner, so as to restore its financial health.
    • It aims to check the problem of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector.
    • It is intended to help alert the regulator as well as investors and depositors if a bank is heading for trouble.
    • The idea is to head off problems before they attain crisis proportions.
  • Audited Annual Financial Results:
    • A bank will generally be placed under the PCA framework based on the audited annual financial results and the ongoing supervisory assessment made by the RBI.
  • Recent Development:
    • In 2021, the RBI revised the PCA Framework for scheduled commercial banks, round capital, asset quality and leverage will be key areas, earlier asset quality and profitability were the key areas for monitoring under framework.

What is a Non Performing Asset?

  • It is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remains overdue for a period of 90 days.
  • Banks are required to classify NPAs further into Substandard, Doubtful and Loss assets.

What is Capital Adequacy Ratio?

  • The CAR is a measure of a bank's available capital expressed as a percentage of a bank's risk-weighted credit exposures.
    • CAR is the measurement ratio that assesses the ability of banks to absorb losses.
  • The Capital Adequacy Ratio, also known as capital-to-risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR), is used to protect depositors and promote the stability and efficiency of financial systems around the world.

What is Return of Asset (RoE)?

  • Return on assets is a profitability ratio that provides how much profit a company is able to generate from its assets.
  • ROA is shown as a percentage, and the higher the number, the more efficient a company's management is at managing its balance sheet to generate profits.
  • Companies with a low ROA usually have more assets involved in generating profit, while companies with a high ROA have fewer assets.
  • ROA is best when comparing similar companies; an asset-intensive company's lower ROA might appear alarming compared to an unrelated company's higher ROA with fewer assets and similar profit.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. With reference to the governance of public sector banking in India, consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. Capital infusion into public sector banks by the Government of India has steadily increased in the last decade.
  2. To put the public sector banks in order, the merger of associate banks with the parent State Bank of India has been affected.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Exp:

  • The government has done capital infusion in stateowned banks to support credit expansion and to help them tide over losses resulting from the provisions that are to be made for non-performing assets (NPAs). But the capital infusion trend in state-owned banks has not been specific in a direction, like increasing or decreasing trend. While it has increased in some years, it has also decreased in a few years. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.
  • Union Government in February 2017 had approved the merger of five associate banks along with the Bharatiya Mahila Bank with SBI. The purposes of the merger were rationalisation of public bank resources, reduction of costs, better profitability, and lower cost of funds leading to a better rate of interest to the public at large and improve productivity and customer service of the public sector banks. Parliament passed the State Banks (Repeal and Amendment) Bill, 2017 to merge six subsidiary banks with State Bank of India to affect rationalisation of public bank. Hence, statement 2 is correct.
  • Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

Source: IE


Important Facts For Prelims

Ebola Virus Disease

Why in News?

Recently, an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has been declared in Uganda following the confirmation of a relatively rare Sudan strain case.

What is Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)?

  • About:
    • EVD, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a deadly disease with occasional outbreaks that occur mostly on the African continent.
    • Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    • It most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).
    • It is caused by an infection with a group of viruses within the genus Ebolavirus:
      • Ebola virus (species Zaire ebolavirus)
      • Sudan virus (species Sudan ebolavirus)
      • Taï Forest virus (species Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus)
      • Bundibugyo virus (species Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
      • Reston virus (species Reston ebolavirus)
      • Bombali virus (species Bombali ebolavirus)
  • Host: Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts.
  • Transmission:
    • Animal to Human Transmission occurs through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope or porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
    • Human-to-Human Transmission occurs via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola.
  • Signs and Symptoms:
    • Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after contact with the virus, with an average of 8 to 10 days which include Fever, Fatigue, Muscle pain, Body weakness, Headache, Sore throat, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
  • Diagnosis:
    • It can be difficult to clinically distinguish Ebola from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever, and meningitis but confirmation that symptoms are caused by Ebola virus infection are made using the following diagnostic methods:
  • Vaccines:
    • The Ervebo (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine has been highly effective in containing the disease.
      • However, this vaccine has only been approved to protect against the Zaire strain of the virus.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Among the following, which were frequently mentioned in the news for the outbreak of Ebola virus recently? (2015)

(a) Syria and Jordan
(b) Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia
(c) Philippines and Papua New Guinea
(d) Jamaica, Haiti and Surinam

Ans: (b)

Exp:

  • Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were in the news for the outbreak of Ebola virus. The most widespread outbreak of Ebola virus disease began in 2013 and continued until 2016, causing major loss of life and socio-economic disruption in the West African region, mainly in the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  • The first cases were recorded in Guinea in December 2013. Later, the disease spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.
  • Therefore, option B is the correct answer.

Source: DTE


Important Facts For Prelims

International Day of Peace 2022

Why in News?

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21st September.

  • Theme for 2022: End racism. Build peace.

What are the Key highlights Related to the International Day of Peace?

  • About:
  • Background: The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly.
    • In 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
  • Symbol of International Peace Day:
    • The United Nations Association of Japan donated the Peace Bell in 1954. It has become customary to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on September 21st, International Day of Peace.

International Day of Non-Violence

  • The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2nd October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • It was established by the UNGA in 2007 to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness".

What are the Various Challenges to Global Peace?

  • Rise in Racism: Black Americans earn 25% less than their white counterparts.
    • Black Americans are twice as likely to be jobless than white Americans.
    • Black women are three to four times more likely to suffer pregnancy-related deaths than white women at similar levels of income and education.
  • Global Unrests: According to the World Population Review, 8 countries including Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Somalia, Iraq, Mexico and Libya suffered at least 1,000 deaths each (mainly civilians) through militarised attacks and battles in 2019.
  • Russia-Ukraine War: The war in Ukraine has led to a cost-of-living crisis. An estimated 1.6 billion people are exposed to at least one dimension of the crisis-food, energy and finance.
  • Refugee Crisis: According to the UN Refugee Agency, 79.5 million were displaced at the end of 2019, due to armed conflicts, persecution and other reasons.
  • Role of Global Powers: The USA, Russia and China are required to uphold peace and international harmony being the permanent members of the UN Security Council. However, on the contrary, they have been found to fuel instability in order to achieve geopolitical hegemony. Examples:
    • The tragedy in Yemen, which the UN has declared as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, is the outcome of indiscriminate attacks by the U.S.-backed coalition of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose geopolitical goal is to counterbalance Iran.
    • Libya’s descent into chaos is the product of the active involvement of mercenaries and weapons pumped in by Russia and the USA-allied Gulf Arab monarchies to push back Turkey’s influence.
    • China’s hegemonic expansionism against its neighbours and its ‘new Cold War’ with the U.S. have significantly raised risks of military clashes in Asia.
  • New Power Tussle: The conflict and competition between the powerful countries, like the USA-China New Cold War is also going on, risking global peace.
  • Pandemic and Climate Crisis: With the rise of extreme climate events around the globe and spread of pandemics such as Covid-19 have posed a new concern that may directly and indirectly affect global peace through lack of access to resources, health and education, displacement etc.

Way Forward

On the International Day of Peace, the unjust structure which privileges great powers and permits their ghastly machinations should be diagnosed and challenged. Intellectuals, social movements and responsible states should prioritise struggling for an equitable world order.

Source: IndiaToday


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