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Monthly DNA

08 Mar, 2021

58 Min Read

International Women’s Day-Background

GS-I : Social issues Women

International Women’s Day


  • Among the many “international days” initiated by the United Nations, the best known is the one for women. Given its widespread institutionalisation by nation-states as well as private corporations targeting the woman consumer, many may now know something about its history.
  • It began over a century ago as a commemoration of the struggles of women factory workers and was first organised by socialist movements as “international women’s day”.
  • From the 1920s onwards, it began to be celebrated annually by communist parties, first in the Soviet Union and then in China.
  • Much later, the United Nations “established” International Women’s Day in 1977 in the wake of the International Women’s Year in 1975.
  • In India, as elsewhere, movement-led campaigns and gatherings on March 8 spread from the 1980s.

International Women's Day 2021: Theme

  • According to the UN, the theme of International Women's Day 2021 is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world".
  • And the campaign theme for International Women's Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge.

Savitribai Phule’s legacy

  • In the last few years, Dalit and Bahujan feminists in India have been issuing a call to use this occasion to celebrate a different legacy, that of Savitribai Phule, long ignored by upper caste histories of women’s rights.
  • Savitribai’s own biography is now being gradually recovered, rescuing her from being restricted to the role of the intrepid wife of Jyotiba Phule, who is himself celebrated for his dedication to the cause of “social justice” against women’s caste-differentiated enslavement.
  • Born in 1831, Savitribai was colonial India’s first woman teacher.
  • Her death on March 10, 1897, has made it possible to commemorate her life and legacy as “our” International Women’s Day.

Source: TH

China to build dams on Brahmaputra River

GS-II : International Relations China OBOR

China is building dams in the Yarlung Zangbo river

  • A draft of China’s new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), which is set to be formally approved, has given the green light for the first dams to be built on the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo river, as the Brahmaputra is known in Tibet before it flows into India.

  • The draft outline of the new Five-Year Plan (FYP) for 2025 and “long-range objectives through the year 2035”, submitted before the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s ceremonial legislature, on Friday, specifically mentions the building of hydropower bases on the lower reaches of the river as among the priority energy projects to be undertaken in the next five years.
  • The lower reaches refer to the sections of the river in Tibet before it flows into India.
  • The inclusion of the projects in the draft plan suggests the authorities have given the go-ahead to begin tapping the lower reaches for the first time, which marks a new chapter in the hydropower exploitation of the river.
  • The FYP’s backing for the projects also suggests that a number of long-pending proposals from Chinese hydropower companies to build dams in the lower reaches, including near the border with India, may be given the green light.
  • On the top of a list of energy construction projects for the next five years, mentioned on page 30 of the 142-page draft document in Mandarin — it has not yet been published in English — calls for “building a hydropower base on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river”, along with “clean energy bases” in the upper and lower reaches of Jinsha river (the upper course of Yangtze river in western China).
  • Other major projects include the construction of coastal nuclear power plants and power transmission channels.
  • The high importance given to building dams on the “lower reaches” of the Yarlung Zangbo is underlined in the plan, where it is also mentioned on page 38 of the document among significant planned investments in infrastructure that serve major national strategies.
  • The project is also listed along with the Sichuan-Tibet railway and the national water network.

Source: TH

Judicial overreach-on OTT Rules

GS-II : Governance Judicial Activism

Judicial overreach-on OTT Rules


  • Allahabad High Court denied Aparna Purohit, India Commercial Head of the content streaming platform, the relief with a sweeping declaration that some offending scenes on a new series, constituted punishable offences.

Overreach of ‘soft-touch monitoring’

The Court went through the recently notified rules for digital media and intermediaries and observed that these lacked teeth.

  • It is quite unusual that a constitutional court should push for more stringent rules after finding that the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, did not provide for punishment and fine.
  • Courts generally examine the validity of such curbs on free speech and decide whether they are reasonable or too restrictive.
    • The new rules are essentially restrictions on free speech and expression through digital media.
  • It is unusual that the apex court should seek to go beyond what the executive describes as ‘soft-touch monitoring’, and press for inclusion of punishment clauses.
  • The Court seems to be concerned about obscenity and uncensored content on streaming services, the ostensible reason for its incursion into regulatory territory, when there was no challenge to the new rules before it.
  • While refusing pre-arrest bail, the High Court has made an unusual claim that the title ‘Tandav’ itself could hurt the sentiments of a majority of Indians because it is associated with Lord Shiva.
    • It has observed that alluding to Lord Ram gaining popularity on social media is a reference to the Ayodhya dispute, and, therefore, offensive.
  • It has a sweeping claim that the Hindi film industry, in contrast to its southern counterparts, was generally disrespectful to the Hindu religion.


  • It would be unfortunate if the judiciary lets itself be seen as departing from its record of protecting individuals harassed by those claiming that their religious or cultural sentiments have been hurt by some work of art, or even remarks or gestures by celebrities.

Source: TH

National Health Policy for Rare Diseases

GS-III : S&T Health

Rare diseases in India

  • According to the government, so far only about 450 diseases have been recorded in India from tertiary care hospitals that are globally considered as rare diseases.
  • The most commonly reported 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.
  • There are 7,000 - 8,000 rare diseases, but less than 5% have therapies available.
  • About 95% rare diseases have no approved treatment and less than 1 in 10 patients receive disease specific treatment.
  • Where drugs are available, they are expensive.

National Health Policy for Rare Diseases, 2020

  • The Delhi High Court directed the Centre to finalise the National Health Policy for Rare Diseases of 2020 by March 31 and make operational provision of crowdfunding envisaged under the law for treatment of high-cost rare diseases.
  • Justice Prathiba M. Singh passed the direction while hearing two different pleas concerning children, who are suffering from duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness in the victim.

About National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2020

  • It proposes to set up a registry under the Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR) to create a database.
  • To provide financial assistance of up to Rs 15 lakh to Ayushman Bharat beneficiaries for rare diseases that require a one-time treatment in tertiary hospitals only.
  • It also suggests voluntary crowdfunding as an alternate means of financial support and notifying government hospitals to facilitate treatment.
  • Alternatively, the draft proposes to set up a digital platform for voluntary crowdfunding.
  • The draft policy also categorises rare diseases under three categories based on clinical experiences and treatment availability.
  • The policy also states that in the absence of data to clearly define rare diseases, such diseases in India will construe the three categories as identified in the policy.

It offers no clarity on long-term financial assistance, appears designed on donations

Criticism of the Draft Policy

  • The government, in its policy paper, has proposed financial support of up to ?15 lakh under an umbrella scheme of the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi for those rare diseases that require a one-time treatment.
  • Beneficiaries for such financial assistance would not be limited to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, but extended to 40% of the population eligible as per the norms of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, for their treatment in government tertiary hospitals only.
  • “The 2017 policy on rare diseases had proposed a ?100 crore corpus fund allocation for the treatment of patients with rare diseases, which was a Centre-State partnership of 60:40, with each State forming a technical committee to evaluate patients’ applications. That has come down to ?15 lakh support for diseases needing one-time treatment. Clearly, now, after a major lag, the policy has come with no hope in sight,” noted a release from the Lysosomal Storage Disorders Support Society.
  • It appears the entire policy is drafted to justify that government cannot provide treatment due to high cost as it is resource constrained.
  • The policy has adopted a very narrow scope limited to only 3 categories, while ignoring those where treatment is yet to be developed and R&D is required.

Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) (formerly National Illness Assistance Fund)

  1. It was set up in 1997 and provides financial assistance to patients living BPL and suffering life threatening diseases like heart, liver, kidney and cancer.
  2. Funding: Initial contribution of Rs. 5 crore by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). Apart from that, Fund could also be subscribed to by individuals, corporate bodies in public or private sector, philanthropic organisations etc. in India and Abroad (subject to FCRA regulations)
  3. A revolving fund has been set up in 12 Govt hospitals
    1. For financial assistance upto ceiling of Rs 2 lakhs per patient (Rs 5 lakh for emergency cases since 2015).
    2. In 2015, Govt enhanced the power of Govt hospitals to sanction assistance from 2 lakhs to Rs. 5 lakhs. For assistance beyond Rs 5 lakhs (since 2015), the matter is referred to MoHFW.
    3. Upto Rs. 10 Lakh can be sanctioned to 1 patient, subject to approvals by the technical committee of RAN.
    4. Reimbursement of medical expenditure already incurred by the patients is not permissible under RAN.
  4. No grant is released for patients seeking treatment at private hospitals.
  5. Common diseases and for which other schemes provide free treatment are also not eligible for grants.
  6. All contributions to TAN by resident entities are exempted from Income tax.
  7. All States / UTs have been “advised” to set up State Illness Assistance Fund.
  8. Within RAN, Govt also provides financial assistance through Health Minister' Cancer Patient Fund (HMCPF) set up in 2009 for cancer patients. It has an amount of 100 crore.
  9. Those who are not covered under RAN, are covered under Health Minister's Discretionary Grant with financial assistance upto Rs. 1.25 lakhs.

What is the news?

  • The Delhi High Court has set up a special committee to find a time-bound solution on ways to provide treatment and therapy options to patients suffering from rare diseases.
  • Justice Prathiba M. Singh ordered the committee to also give “immediate concrete proposals for crowdfunding of the costs of treatment for children with rare diseases”.
  • The High Court’s direction came while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by patients suffering from rare diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Hunter’s syndromes seeking direction to the government to provide them uninterrupted free treatment in view of the exorbitant cost of treatment.

What is DMD and Hunter’s syndromes?

  • DMD is a condition that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness in the victim.
  • Hunter’s syndromes is a rare disease that is passed on in families. It mostly affects boys and their bodies cannot break down a kind of sugar that builds bones, skin, tendons, and other tissues.

Source: TH

PM Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, 2008

GS-III : S&T Health

PM Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana, 2008

  1. It is an irony that even after 70 years of Independence, only 40% of the population can afford branded medicines. And India is in the Top 4 countries to export generic medicine to ~ 200 countries. 1 out of 6 medicines consumed in the World is from India. And in India 6 out of 10 have no access to them.
  2. Hence India launched Jan Aushadhi Scheme in 2008 by Dept of Pharma, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. It is implemented by BPPI, Gurugram.
  3. To bring down the healthcare budget of every citizen of India by providing quality generic medicine.
  4. Mission:
    1. Create awareness, and demand, awareness and provide education about generic drugs.
    2. Provide all generic medicines covering all therapeutic groups.
  5. Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementing agency of PMBJP under the administrative control of Dept of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. BPPI is registered as an independent society under Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  6. PM Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendras will be set up
    1. 1st PMBJA Kendra was set up at Amritsar in Punjab.
    2. Applicants should be a B Pharma/ D Pharma degree holders.
    3. Funding
      1. 2.5 lakhs shall be given to NGOs/ Agencies/ individuals establishing in PMBJK in Govt hospital premises where space is provided for free.
      2. Rs. 1 lakh reimbursement furniture and fixtures.
      3. Rs. 1 lakh by way of free medicines in the beginning
      4. 0.5 lakh reimbursement for computer and peripherals, internet etc.
    4. 20% Trade margin in MRP for retailers and 10% for distributors.
    5. PM BJK and Distributors will be allowed 2% of total sales or actual loss (whichever is lower) as compensation for the expiry of medicines. Expired goods need not be returned to BPPO. Stocks expiring at the C&F level will entirely be the loss of BPPI.
    6. PMBJK can be located within Govt hospital premises as well as Private Hospital premises or anywhere outside.
    7. Other allied medical products commonly sold in the market can be sold here.
    8. BPPI shall source medicines both from Pharma PSUs and Private Companies.
    9. BPPI shall establish a Central Warehouse. It has established at Sugal Logistics Park, Bilaspur, Gurugram, Haryana.

Source: TH

Slowing Currents in the Gulf Stream

GS-I : Physical Geography Oceanography

Slowing Currents in the Gulf Stream

  • The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Drift, is a warm and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and stretches to the tip of Florida.
  • It then follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean as the North Atlantic Current.
  • The Gulf Stream system conveys warm surface water from the equator to the north and the deeper cold, low-salinity water down south.
  • It works like a giant conveyor belt.
  • A recent study has revealed the slowing of the Gulf Stream system.
  • Increased rainfall and melting of the Greenland Ice sheet may have likely contributed to the observed slowing down of the Gulf Stream.

More About Oceanic Currents:

  • Ocean currents are the horizontal flow of a mass of water in a fairly defined direction over great distances.
  • They are like streams of water (like rivers) flowing through the main body of the ocean in a regular pattern.
  • Ocean currents (Avg speed 3.2 km to 10 kmph) with higher speeds are called streams and currents with lower speeds are called drifts.

Ocean currents are categorized as warm or cold on the basis of relative temperature w.r.t the surrounding water:

  • Warm currents generally flow from equatorial regions toward poles. Eg. Kuroshio current, Gulf stream
  • Cold currents generally flow from polar regions towards the equator. Eg. Oyashio Current, Labrador current.

The circulation of the ocean currents depends on the following factors:

  • Planetary Winds: A major role in ocean currents is played by the frictional drag of surface water by planetary winds.
    • Most of the currents of the world tend to follow the direction of planetary winds.
    • Differences in Density: Differences in water density affect the vertical mobility of ocean currents. The less-dense water of the equator rises and moves towards the poles (warm current) while the cold and dense waters of the poles sink and move towards the equator (cold current). Similarly, water with lower salinity (lower density) flows on the surface while an undercurrent of high salinity flows towards the less dense water - eg. the current between the Mediterranean Sea with higher salinity and Atlantic Ocean with lower salinity.
    • Earth’s Rotation: The earth’s rotation deflects air to its right in the northern hemisphere and to its left in the southern hemisphere. Similarly, ocean water is also affected by Coriolis force.
    • So, all the ocean currents follow a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and an anticlockwise direction in the southern hemisphere.
    • Coastlines and Bottom Reliefs also affect the direction of currents. Eg. The Equatorial current after being obstructed by Brazilian coast bifurcates into two branches.
    • Heating by the Sun: Heating by solar energy causes the water to expand.
    • That is why, near the equator the ocean water is higher in level than in the middle latitudes. This causes a very slight gradient and water tends to flow down the slope.
  • Ocean currents and mixing by winds and waves can transport and redistribute heat to deeper ocean layers.
  • Currents are also important in marine ecosystems because they redistribute water, heat, nutrients, and oxygen about the ocean.

Source: TH

Lowering Government Yields

GS-III : Economic Issues Government Budgeting

Lowering Government Yields

Government Security (G-Sec) yields could soften temporarily as the Indian government’s fiscal deficit may undershoot FY2021 Revised Estimate (RE) by Rs.50,000 crore to Rs.90,000 crore.

  • G-Secs are government debt issuances used to fund daily operations, and special infrastructure and military projects.
  • They guarantee the full repayment of invested principal at the maturity of the security and often pay periodic coupons or interest payments.
  • The two key categories are:
    • Treasury bills (T-Bills) – short-term instruments which mature in 91 days, 182 days, or 364 days, and
    • Dated securities – long-term instruments, which mature anywhere between 5 years and 40 years
  • As they are issued by the government, they are considered to be risk-free.
  • The trade-off of buying these securities is that they tend to pay a lower rate of interest than corporate bonds.
  • Investors in G-Sec will either hold them to maturity or sell them to other investors on the secondary bond market.

Why G-Secs?

  • Like bank fixed deposits, g-secs are not tax-free.
  • They are generally considered the safest form of investment because they are backed by the government.
  • However, they are not completely risk-free, since they are subject to fluctuations in interest rates.
  • Bank fixed deposits, on the other hand, are guaranteed only to the extent of Rs 5 lakh by the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC).
  • In the forthcoming financial year, the government plans to borrow Rs 12 lakh crore from the market.
  • When the government demands so much money, the price of money (i.e., the interest rate) will move up.
  • It is in the government’s and RBI’s interest to bring this down.
  • That can only happen by broadening the base of investors and making it easier for them to buy g-secs.

Source: TH

Invasive Earthworm Species Found in Karnataka

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Wildlife & Fauna

Invasive Earthworm Species Found in Karnataka

  • An exotic and highly invasive earthworm Amynthas Alexandria has been collected and reported for the first time from Karnataka.
  • They are medium-to-large-sized, fast-moving worms, which have practically inhabited all the districts of Kerala.
  • Their original home is in Southeast Asia.

Source: TH

GISAT-1 Being Planned by ISRO

GS-III : S&T Space

GISAT-1 Being Planned by ISRO

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to launch GISAT-1 into space using a GSLV-F10 rocket.
  • Geo Imaging Satellite-1 or GISAT-1 is India’s first earth observation satellite in a geostationary orbit.
  • The rocket will place GISAT-1 in geosynchronous orbit, and subsequently in geostationary orbit, using its onboard propulsion system.
  • GISAT-1 will facilitate near real-time observation of the Indian sub-continent, under cloud-free conditions, at frequent intervals.
  • With onboard high-resolution cameras, the satellite will allow India to monitor the Indian land mass and the oceans, particularly its borders.
  • It would help in quick monitoring of natural disasters, episodic and any short-term events.
  • It will obtain spectral signatures of agriculture, forestry, mineralogy, disaster warning, cloud properties, snow and glacier and oceanography.

Earth Observation Satellites

  • It is a remote sensing satellite designed for Earth observation (EO) from orbit, including spy satellites and those used for non-military uses.
  • Starting with IRS-1A (1988), ISRO has launched many operational remote sensing satellites.
  • 13 satellites in Sun-synchronous orbit - Resourcesat-1, 2, 2A; Cartosat-1, 2, 2A, 2B; RISAT-1,2; Oceansat-2; Megha-Tropiques; SARAL; SCATSAT-1.
  • 4 satellites in Geostationary orbit – Kalpana; INSAT 3A, 3D, 3DR.
  • These satellites provide data in diversified spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions to cater to different user requirements - agriculture, water resources, urban planning, mineral prospecting, environment, etc.

Source: TH

Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government policies and interventions

Pradhan Mantri YUVA Yojana

  • PM YUVA Yojana is a centrally sponsored Scheme on entrepreneurship education and training.
  • It is being implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) from the 2016-17 to 2020-21 period (5 years).
  • It aims at creating an enabling ecosystem through entrepreneurship education, training, advocacy and easy access to entrepreneurship support networks and promoting social enterprises for inclusive growth.
  • The objectives of the scheme are,
    • Educate and equip potential and early-stage entrepreneurs
    • Connect entrepreneurs in enabling networks of peers, mentors, funds and business services
    • Support entrepreneurs through Entrepreneurship Hubs (E - Hubs)
    • Catalyze a culture shift to encourage entrepreneurship
  • It covers 10 States and 2 Union Territories - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, Delhi and Puducherry.

Source: TH

Umbrella Schemes of Women and Child Development Ministry

GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes

Umbrella Schemes of Women and Child Development Ministry

  • Women and Child Development Ministry have classified all its programs under 3 umbrella schemes - Mission Shakti, Poshan 2.0, and Vatsalya.
  • Mission Shakti is a Mission for the Protection and Empowerment of Women. It will cover policies and schemes like,
  • SAMBAL (One Stop Centre, Mahila Police Volunteer, Women's Helpline/Swadhar/Ujjawala/Widow Homes etc.)
  • SAMARTHYA (Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Creche, PM Matru Vandana Yojana/ Gender Budgeting/Research/ among others.)
  • Mission POSHAN 2.0 will be launched by the government by merging the supplementary nutrition programme and Poshan Abhiyan.
    • This will look into ways to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach, and outcomes.
    • The schemes include Umbrella ICDS - Anganwadi Services, Poshan Abhiyan, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, and National Creche Scheme.
  • Mission VATSALYA will look into child protection services and child welfare services.

Source: TH

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