×

04 April, 2020

39 Min Read

Download PDF Of The Day
Paper Topics Subject
GS-II UNGA adopts ‘Global solidarity to fight the COVID-19’ resolution
“Arogya Sanjeevani”: IRDAI
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019/2020 Important Bills
GS-III e-NAM analysis Economic Issues
PT Pointer United Nations Conference on Trade and Development-UNCTAD
NCC and COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: Kerala based SCTIMST joins
DRDO develops bio suit
UNICEF launches “Mo Prativa”
GS-II :
UNGA adopts ‘Global solidarity to fight the COVID-19’ resolution

UNGA adopts ‘Global solidarity to fight the COVID-19’ resolution

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II-UN

On April 3, 2020 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopts a resolution– ‘Global solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)’, co-sponsored by 188 nations including India.
Objective
To intensify international cooperation so as to mitigate & defeat the pandemic which includes exchange of information, scientific knowledge & best practices in accordance with the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization(WHO).

Key Points

i.It is the 1st  document adopted by world organisation on the global pandemic
ii.It recognises the unprecedented effects of the pandemic which includes the severe disruption to societies & economies, to global travel and commerce, & the devastating impact on the livelihood of people.
iii.It also highlights the need for human rights and stressed that there is no room for discrimination, racism and xenophobia  in response to the pandemic.

iv.The resolution is sponsored by Ghana, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland.
v.The resolution was adopted under a silence procedure as the general  Assembly is not holding meetings due to the pandemic.

About UNGA:
It is one of the 6 major elements of the United Nations(UN) to discuss and work together on international issues covered by the Charter of UN, such as development, peace and security, international law, etc. In total there are 193 member states.

Headquarters– NewYork, United States

President of the General Assembly– Tijjani Muhammad-Bande

Print PDF

GS-II :
“Arogya Sanjeevani”: IRDAI

“Arogya Sanjeevani”: IRDAI

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II-Regulatory bodies

The COVID-19 hospitalization cases are increasing which posing financial burden on patients or their families due to hospitalization expenses. As a financial relief measure to the COVID-19 positive cases, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has made the coverage of hospitalization treatment costs of COVID-19 mandatory under standard health insurance product “Arogya Sanjeevani”. Apart from this, Indemnity based health insurance products offered by all general and health insurance companies will also cover the costs of hospitalization treatment on account of covid-19.

 

The objective behind this move is support individuals who are seeking treatment in private hospitals as in government hospitals the expenses the paid by government itself.

 

About Arogya Sanjeevani:

IRDAI in January, 2020 mandated all health and general insurance companies to offer a standard product called the Arogya Sanjeevani policy starting 1st April 2020. In this regard 29 general and health Insurance companies received clearance to market Arogya Sanjeevani.

  • This policy offers coverage of between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for a period of one year. It will be available in multiples of Rs 50,000.
  • Minimum age for this policy is 18 years and maximum age is 65 years.

 

IRDAI

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or the IRDAI is the apex body responsible for regulating and developing the insurance industry in India. It is an autonomous body. It was established by an act of Parliament known as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. IRDAI is headquartered in Hyderabad in Telangana. Prior to 2001, it was headquartered in New Delhi. The organization fought for an increase in the FDI limit in the insurance sector to 49% from the previous 26%. The FDI cap was hiked to 49% in July of 2014.

  • Its primary purpose is to protect the rights of the policyholders in India. 
  • It gives the registration certificate to insurance companies in the country.
  • It also engages in the renewal, modification, cancellation, etc. of this registration.
  • It also creates regulations to protect policyholders’ interests in India.

Establishment– 1999 (autonomous body), 2000 (statutory body)

Headquarters– Hyderabad, Telangana

Chairman– Subhash C. Khuntia

Print PDF

GS-II : Important Bills
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019/2020

Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019/2020

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II-Bills

Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha. The Bill aims to prohibit commercial surrogacy in India.

Commercial surrogacy, a practice also known as 'Rent a Womb', was legalised in India in the year 2002, in order to promote medical tourism. And soon, India became the hub of surrogacy. Driven by factors like low cost and the absence of a strict legislation, commercial surrogacy became a booming business in the country.

According to a 2012 study by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the size of India’s surrogate motherhood industry was $2 billion a year. Another 2012 study backed by the United Nations estimated the economic scale of the Indian surrogacy industry to be 400 million dollars a year with more than 3,000 fertility clinics across the country.

However, the unregulated business of surrogacy led to concerns over the rampant exploitation of surrogate mothers as well as their children, prompting the need for a legislation to regulate surrogacy in the country.

Features of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019

  • It provides for constitution of surrogacy boards at the national as well as state levels to ensure effective regulation.
  • It seeks to allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the intending infertile Indian married couple between the age of 23-50 years for female and 26-55 years for male.
  • Only Indian couples who have been legally married for at least 5 years would be allowed to opt for surrogacy.
  • It makes it mandatory for the couple to obtain a certificate of essentiality and also a certificate of eligibility before going ahead with surrogacy. It also provides that intending couples should not abandon the child born out of surrogacy under any condition.
  • It also stipulates a separate eligibility criterion for the surrogate mother.
    • The surrogate must be a close relative of the intending couple and be a married woman having a child of her own.
    • She should between the age of 25-35 years, not have been surrogate earlier and must be certifiably mentally and physically fit.
  • On the legal status of a surrogate child, the Bill states that any child born out of a surrogacy procedure shall be the biological child of the intending couple.
    • The new born child shall be entitled to all rights and privileges that are available to a natural child.
  • The Bill also seeks to regulate functioning of surrogacy clinics. All surrogacy clinics in the country need to be registered by the appropriate authority in order to undertake surrogacy or its related procedures.
  • The Bill provides for various safeguards for surrogate mothers. One of them is insurance coverage for sometime to cover not only the period of pregnancy but after that also.
  • It also specifies that no sex selection can be done when it comes to surrogacy.

Background

  • In recent years, India has emerged as a surrogacy hub for couples from other countries.
  • There were multiple reports concerning unethical practices, exploitation of surrogate mothers, abandonment of children born out of surrogacy and rackets involving intermediaries importing human embryos and gametes prompting the need for a stringent law on surrogacy.
    • The surrogates generally turn out to be poor illiterate women of rural background who are persuaded by their spouse or middlemen to enter such deals to earn easy money. These women have no power to decide about their own body and life.
    • After recruitment by the commercial agencies, these women are shifted to hostels on the pretext of taking antenatal care. The real motive is to cart them and avoid social stigma of being made outcaste by their community. These women end up spending the whole tenure of pregnancy worrying about their household and children.
    • The worst part is that in case of unfavourable outcome of the pregnancy they are unlikely to be paid and there is no provision of insurance or post-pregnancy medical and psychiatric support for them.
    • Due to lack of proper legislation, sometimes, both surrogate mothers and intended parents are exploited. Only middlemen and commercial agencies profit from the arrangement.
    • The most unequal party in the surrogacy contract, however, remains the child that results from it. There are also incidents when the child given to the couple after surrogacy is not genetically related and in turn is disowned by the intended parent and the child has to spend his/her life in an orphanage.
  • The Law Commission of India also highlighted the need to enact such a law. In its 208th report, the commission recommended prohibiting commercial surrogacy citing concerns over the prevalent use of surrogacy by foreigners and the lack of a proper legal framework resulting in exploitation of the surrogate mother who may have been coerced to become a surrogate due to poverty and lack of education.

Criticism of the Bill

  • It prevents same sex couples from having surrogate children even though there is a credible scientific research to show that same sex parents are as good as hetrosexual parents, thus violating the Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • The Bill also violates the Puttaswamy judgement of the Supreme Court (Right to privacy was added in the list of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution).
  • The eligibility condition under the Bill amounts to unreasonable restriction on the reproductive rights of a married Indian couple, violative of Article 21 of the constitution.

New amendments 2020

Union Cabinet has approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020.

The amended bill is reformed version of the draft legislation which was passed by Lok Sabha in August 2019 but its provisions, including that only a close relative of a couple can be a surrogate mother, had invited criticism.

The bill incorporates all recommendations made by a Rajya Sabha select committee, which studied an earlier version of the draft legislation, and is aimed at banning commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy.

Key features of the Bill:

  1. It allows any “willing” woman to be a surrogate mother and proposes that widows and divorced women can also benefit from its provisions, besides infertile Indian couples.
  2. The bill also proposes to regulate surrogacy by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and, State Surrogacy Board and appropriate authorities in states and Union Territories respectively.
  3. The proposed insurance cover for surrogate mother has now been increased to 36 months from 16 months provided in the earlier version.
  4. Commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes.
  5. Ethical surrogacy to lndian married couples, Indian-origin married couples and Indian single woman (only widow or divorcee between the age of 35 and 45 years) will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions.

Surrogacy

  • It occurs when a woman agrees to gestate a baby for another couple or individual.
  • There are two kinds of surrogacy- gestational and traditional.
  • In gestational surrogacy the embryo that is fertilised by the in-vitro method is implanted into the uterus of the surrogate mother who then carries and delivers the baby.
    • Gestational surrogacy became popular in India due to advances in reproductive medicine, a large pool of impoverished women and low cost compared to countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia.
  • In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother is impregnated with the sperm of the intended father artificially which makes her both the genetic and gestational mother.
  • Surrogacy can be commercial or altruistic depending upon whether the surrogate is paid money for her pregnancy.
  • The world has warmed up to the concept of surrogacy that allows childless couples or single persons to become parents.
  • Most countries allowing surrogacy have framed their own laws for regulating surrogacy and also protecting the rights of surrogate as well as the child.

Problems Associated with Cross-Border Surrogacy

  • For cross border childless couples, not only do they have to cope up with the language barrier, they sometimes have to fight long legal battles to get their children.
  • Cross border surrogacy also leads to problems in citizenship, nationality, motherhood, parentage and rights of a child. Children are at times denied nationality of the country of the intended parents.
  • Lack of an international law on surrogacy creates complications for surrogates as well as intending parents. It is quite possible that there are different surrogacy laws in the home country and the country where the baby is born.
  • Many experts argue that an international agreement similar to the Hague Adoption Convention could provide consistency across countries thereby making the process more streamlined.

Laws Governing Surrogacy in Different Countries

  • While countries like Britain, America, Australia, the Netherlands and Denmark are among those where altruistic surrogacy is legal, countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria prohibit all forms of surrogacy.
  • Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine allow both altruistic and commercial surrogacy.
  • Kenya, Malaysia and Nigeria do not prohibit surrogacy but have no formal law to regulate the practice.
  • The Czech Republic, Colombia, Chile and Hungary are among countries with unregulated surrogacy.

In Britain

  • Commercial Surrogacy is not legal in the United Kingdom.
  • The surrogate is the child’s legal parent at birth. Legal parenthood can be transferred by parental order or adoption only once the child is born.

In USA

  • The surrogacy laws vary from state to state.
  • Surrogacy friendly states allow both commercial and altruistic surrogacy. Arkansas, California, New Hampshire are some such surrogacy-friendly states.
  • New York does not allow commercial surrogacy and Michigan forbids absolutely all surrogacy agreements.

In Canada

  • Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act permits only altruistic surrogacy.
  • Surrogate mothers may be reimbursed only for approved expenses.
  • However, all surrogacy arrangements are illegal in Quebec in Canada.
Print PDF

GS-III : Economic Issues
e-NAM analysis

3 new features of e-NAM platform to prevent crowding in mandis

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Economy -Agriculture

The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar has launched three new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform to enable farmers to sell their harvested produce directly from warehouse which will prevent crowding in mandis amid COVID-19 outbreak.

About newly launched software modules in e-NAM software:

i.Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWRs) module– It will enable small & marginal farmers to directly trade their stored produce from selected Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) accredited warehouses which are declared deemed market by the State. With this, farmers can sell the produce across India to get better Price and the hassle of mandi will also be avoided. Already States of Telangana (14 warehouses) & Andhra Pradesh (23 warehouses) declared designated warehouses in the State as deemed market.

ii.Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) trading module– This will enable FPOs to upload the picture and quality parameters of the produce for bidding which will help distant bidders to visualise the produce before bidding. This feature will help FPOs in reducing the transaction costs (Transportation) forinter-mandi and inter-state trade.

iii.Logistic Module– This will promote inter-State trade under e-NAM by providing online transport facilities for distant buyers. For this purpose 3,75,000 trucks from large logistic providers have been deployed.

e-NAM

What is e-NAM?

  • National Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • It is managed by Small Farmers' Agribusiness Consortium(SFAC) under Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers' Welfare.
  • The NAM Portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services.
  • It currently links 450 APMCs from across 13states, different commodities including staple food grains, vegetables and fruits are currently listed in its list of commodities available for trade.
  • Traders and exporters need to get themselves registered with the portal to access its services.
  • This includes commodity arrivals & prices, buy & sell trade offers, provision to respond to trade offers, among other services.

What was the mechanism prior to e-NAM?

  • Agriculture marketing is administered by the States as per their agri-marketing regulations.
  • Under which, the State is divided into several market areas, each of which is administered by a separate Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) which imposes its own marketing regulation (including fees).
  • This fragmentation of markets, even within the State, hinders free flow of agri commodities from one market area to another without commensurate benefit to the farmer.

What is the working mechanism of e-NAM?

  • Under e-NAM willing States to accordingly enact suitable provisions in their APMC Act for promotion of e-trading by their State Agricultural Marketing Board/APMC.
  • States to undertake reforms prior to seeking assistance under the scheme in respect of
  1. Single license to be valid across the State.
  2. Single point levy of market fee (i.e. on the first wholesale purchase from the farmer will be charged).
  3. Provision for electronic auction as a mode for price discovery.
  •  Only those States/UTs that have completed these three pre-requisites will be eligible for assistance under the scheme.
  • Besides the State Marketing Boards/APMCs must enable the promotion of the e-auction platform.
  • The States will need to ensure that the mandis that are integrated with NAM makes provision for requisite online connectivity, hardware and assaying equipments.
  • The payment to the farmers will be provided to the farmers with valid license linked with Aadhaar through DBT by state APMCs.

e-NAM & Its Constituents

e-NAM comprises of commodity onsets and prices, buy and sell trade offers, facility to respond to trade offers, among other services.

The focus areas, with regards to the implementation of e – National Agriculture Market, are given in table below:

e-NAM Implementation

Informing and trading commodities on e-NAM

Increasing the involvement of traders on e-NAM

Aggregate the quantity and value of supplies being traded on e-NAM

Increasing the figures of bids cited by traders

Encouraging cashless transactions, e.g. online payments, to farmers

Promoting inter-market trade between Mandis

Offering access to Soil Testing Laboratories to farmers

Accompanying awareness and farmer orientation programs

Providing elementary amenities and facilities for cleaning, sorting and packing to farmers in the Mandi

Creating logistics and infrastructure available to encourage inter-market trade on the e-NAM platform

Undertaking local initiatives and innovative systems to influence greater strength to e-NAM

Safeguarding transparency and accountability in implementation.

 

Some key points related to e-NAM are given below:

  • The GOI is offering a grant of Rs.30 lakhs to the participating agriculture mandis.
  • Farmers under this scheme will be given ‘farmer helpline services’ 24×7 to help them obtain information about the portal.
  • Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) which is the lead promoter of National Agricultural Market (eNAM). SFAC which is formulated under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW). SFAC through open tender selects a Partner to develop, operate and maintain the NAM e-platform.

What are the advantages of e-NAM?

  • A unified market through online trading platform, both, at State and National level and promotes uniformity, streamlining of procedures across the integrated markets.
  • E-NAM removes information asymmetry between buyers and sellers and promotes real time price discovery.
  • It uses estimations based on actual demand and supply, promotes transparency in auction process.
  • It allows farmers to access a nationwide market with prices commensurate with quality of his produce.
  • It also allows online payment and availability of better quality produce and at more reasonable prices to the consumer.

What are few challenges e-NAM is facing?

  • State agricultural departments have been finding it difficult to convince all stakeholders like farmers, traders and commission agents to move to the online platform.
  • The platform is not fully functional in any State as there are no scientific sorting/grading facilities or quality testing machines.
  • Lack of technical expertise and internet facility at the State Agricultural Departments has also delayed the setting up of grading/assaying facilities.
  • The huge share of the trade recorded in the e-NAM portal was actually carried out offline and the values were fed into the portal to make it look like genuine online transactions.
  • This completely defeats the purpose as the main objective of an online auction portal is to help price discovery.

 

Print PDF

GS-II :
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development-UNCTAD

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

  • It was established in 1964 to promote development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy.
  • UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body headquartered at Geneva in Switzerland.
  • Some of the reports published by it are:
    • Trade and Development Report
    • World Investment Report
    • The Least Developed Countries Report
    • Information and Economy Report
    • Technology and Innovation Report
    • Commodities and Development Report
Print PDF

GS-III :
NCC and COVID-19

NCC volunteer cadets to fight COVID-19 under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’

On April 2, 2020 the National Cadet Corps (NCC) has offered its volunteer cadets to assist the civilian authorities to fight COVID-19 under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’.

  •  It has issued guidelines for the temporary employment of its cadets to enhance the operations of various organizations involved in relief efforts & fighting the pandemic.
  • The tasks for NCC cadets include- manning of helpline, call centres; distribution of relief materials, medicines, food, essential commodities; community assistance; data management and queue & traffic management.

Guidelines
i.The cadets must not be employed to handle law & order situations or for active military duties or at hot spots.
ii.Only the Senior Division volunteer cadets above 18 years will be employed in small cohesive groups of 8 to 20 under the supervision of Permanent Instructor Staff or/and an Associate NCC Officer.
iii.Before the cadets are sent to duty, ground conditions & stipulated requirements must be confirmed.
iv.For employment of volunteer cadets the State governments /district administration must send requisition through State NCC Directorates & the details will be coordinated at Directorate/Group Headquarters/Unit level with state government/local civil authority.
About NCC

It is operated under the Ministry of Defence & is the largest uniform youth organization in the country which involves various social service and community development activities. It contributes to the national cause during natural calamities like floods, cyclones, etc.,
Headquarters– New Delhi, India

Director General– Lieutenant general(Lt Gen) Rajeev Chopra

Print PDF

GS-III :
Coronavirus outbreak: Kerala based SCTIMST joins

Coronavirus outbreak: Kerala based SCTIMST joins hands with Wipro 3D to make automated ventilators

On April 03, 2020, In view of increasing coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in India, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an institute of National Importance of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) based in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, has partnered with ‘Wipro 3D’ to build a portable and lightweight emergency ventilator system based on Artificial Manual Breathing Unit (AMBU) to assist the breathing of the critical patients who have no access to ICU (Intensive care unit)ventilators.
Key Points:

i.This ventilator system is essentially a hand held device also called as AMBU bag or bag-valve-mask (BVM) to provide positive pressure ventilation to a corona patients with breathing difficulties with a controlled rate of expiration, ispiratory to expiratory ratio, Tidal volume etc.

ii.In addition to this, a PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) valve has been equipped as an extra tool to control pressure on the lower airways at the end of the breathing cycle which prevents the alveoli from collapsing during expiration.

iii.However, a disadvantage of the normal AMBU bag is that it requires a bystander to operate it and hence is non-advisable for treating a Covid-19 patient.

 

Print PDF

GS-III :
DRDO develops bio suit

DRDO develops bio suit with seam sealing glue to keep health professionals fighting COVID-19 safe

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a bio suit with self-sealing seam to keep the medical, paramedical and other personnel engaged in combating COVID-19, safe from the deadly virus.

  • This Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been prepared with the help of textile, coating and nanotechnology.
  • The suit already cleared the testing for protection against synthetic blood which has exceeds the criteria defined for body suits by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
  • It should be noted that M/s Kusumgarh Industries is producing the raw material, coating material for this bio suit while the complete suit is being manufactured with the help of another vendor.
  • The current production capacity is 7,000 suits per day which will be increased to 15,000 suits per day.
Print PDF

GS-II :
UNICEF launches “Mo Prativa”

UNICEF launches “Mo Prativa”

In order to keep children engaged in some creative work during 21-days lockdown due to coronavirus (COVID-19), the Odisha state government in collaboration with UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), has launched a creative skill competition programme called “Mo Prativa” (My talent).
Key Points:

i.Under this online programme children can participate in competitions such as drawings, paintings, posters, writing of slogans, short stories (within 500 words) and poetry. Children will have to upload their work and for this they will get a certificate every week.

ii.Children of 5 to 18 years will be able to participate in this competition, where they have to work under 2 themes – ‘Being at home during lockdown’ and ‘My responsibility as a young citizen during COVID-19’.
iii.Participants can send their entry in three different categories of 5-10 years, 11-15 years and 16-18 years & have to submit online between 10 am to 6 pm.

About Odisha:

Capital– Bhubaneswar

Chief Minister– Naveen Patnaik

Governor– Ganeshi Lal

About UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund):

Headquarters– New York, United States

Executive Director– Henrietta H. Fore

Print PDF

Newsletter Subscription
SMS Alerts
x
Nature
x
Nature