17 February, 2020 17 Min Read
|GS-II||Remote Voting System||National and Political Issues|
|5th India Russia military industry conference||International Relations|
|National Health Mission (NHM)||National and Political Issues|
|GS-III||Bank Frauds in India||Economy|
|GISAT-1 satellite to be launched||Science and Technology|
|Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS)||Environment and Sustainable development|
|Kashi Mahakal Express||Miscellaneous|
GS-II : National and Political Issues
Prelims and Mains focus: about the new technology: its working and significance
News: The Election Commission of India has collaborated with IIT Madras to work on a new technology for two-way remote voting in controlled environment using blockchain technology.
What is it about?
How will the new system work?
If the project is given the go-ahead by the ECI, changes to the election laws would be required for which the Law Ministry would be approached.
Efforts made to increase voter turnout
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the event: MoUs signed and their significance; about India-Russia ties
News: In a step forward towards addressing the issue of regular spares and support for Russian military equipment with the armed forces, 14 MoUs were signed between Indian and Russian companies for setting up joint ventures covering a range of equipment from modern T-90 tanks to legacy Pechora air defence systems.
About the event
The MoUs were signed during the 5th India Russia military industry conference held during the Defexpo 2020 in Lucknow.
Lack of timely spares and support has been a constant issue faced by the military a major part of which consists of Russian defence hardware. Several such support agreements are in the pipeline and expected to be concluded soon.
About the MoUs signed
India has taken a number of steps to expedite the collaboration with Russian companies. India has called for expeditious implementation from the Russian side as well which has some procedural issues to sort out. There are also agreements on emerging technologies — Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain and robotics based on Russian technologies under the proposed Indo-Russian Joint Venture ICT Center of Excellence.
Arms imports by India
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the NHM: aim and significance; about neonatal deaths in India and its causes
News: Madhya Pradesh has recorded the highest percentage of newborn deaths of 11.5% against the total admissions to government-run sick newborn care units (SNCUs) in the past three years across the country, a rate ominously spiralling since 2017, according to the National Health Mission (NHM). The country’s average is 7%.
Factors responsible for the spike in the percentage of deaths
Neonatal deaths in India
About National Health Mission
The National Health Mission (NHM) was designed with the aim of providing accessible, affordable, effective and reliable healthcare facilities in the rural and urban areas of the country, especially to the poor and vulnerable sections of the population.
NHM envisages a bottom-up, decentralized and community owned approach to public health planning.
Source: The Hindu
GS-III : Economy
Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the frauds in Indian banks: causes and link to slow growth
Context: Banking frauds have been rising. During the first six months of this fiscal, frauds of Rs.1 lakh and above, as reported by commercial banks, touched Rs.1.13 trillion. This, after frauds worth Rs.41,167 crore had been reported in 2017-18.
By how much have bank frauds risen?
Why has there been a jump in bank frauds?
There is no straight answer to this. But as John Kenneth Galbraith wrote in The Great Crash, 1929: “At any given time there exists an inventory of undisclosed embezzlement. This inventory—it should perhaps be called the bezzle—amounts at any moment to many millions of dollars. In good times, people are relaxed, trusting, and money is plentiful... (so) the rate of embezzlement grows, the rate of discovery falls off, and the bezzle increases rapidly. In depression all this is reversed." As per this theory, bank frauds have been building up over the years and there has been an explosion in their recognition this year.
What’s the link between frauds and slow growth?
Growth during the first half of FY20 fell to 4.8%. According to Galbraith, the rate of discovery of what he calls bezzle rises in a depression. While India’s economy is nowhere near a depression, it is in the middle of a slowdown. This is why fraud recognition has increased. A rapid build-up in fraud recognition doesn’t mean the system has turned more corrupt this year.
Why has there been a build-up in frauds?
The frauds being recognized now were committed earlier. Why was there a jump in frauds at all? As Urjit Patel, RBI governor from September 2016-December 2018, said in a speech in March 2018: “Indeed, RBI data on banking frauds suggests that only a handful of cases over the past five years have had closure, and cases of substantive economic significance remain open. As a result, the overall enforcement mechanism… is not perceived to be a major deterrent to frauds relative to economic gains from fraud."
What does this tell us about bank frauds?
The RBI top brass has openly talked about big businessmen siphoning off money from different projects. This was money they had borrowed from banks to finance the projects. Such incidents haven’t been properly investigated over the years and have led to these people defaulting on loans after siphoning off the money. This has only incentivized fraudsters to become bolder. Only proper investigations leading to convictions can stop this practice.
Prelims and Mains focus: about GISAT-1: its orbit and significance; about Gaganyaan; ISRO
News: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is preparing to launch GISAT-1, a new earth observation (EO) satellite, in the first week of March 2020.
About the satellite
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the proposal of notifying as a tiger reserve: arguements for and against; about NTCA
News: The Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), though home to more than half the number of tigers present in Kerala, may not be notified as a tiger reserve as the proposal lacks public support.
The ‘Status of Tigers in India’ report released in 2019 had estimated the tiger population of Wayanad as between 75 and 80 individuals. Periyar Tiger Reserve, the first one in Kerala, has an estimated population of 30 to 35 big cats, whereas Parambikulam, the second reserve, has a population of 20 to 25 tigers.
Arguements put foward in favour of the proposal
The arguments of the officials that the notification would ensure financial aid from the Centre and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), better conservation and management of the tiger population and help generate more employment opportunities failed to impress the State authorities.
Arguement against the proposal
Support from NTCA
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus subtopic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Prelims and Mains focus: about the train: route, significance etc; about jyotirlingas
News: PM Modi flagged off the latest religion-themed train, the Kashi Mahakal Express in Varanasi, the PM’s constituency.
Details of the train
Another religion-themed train to be launched
This Lord Shiva-themed train will be followed by a Ramayan-themed train to be launched next month from across India in a big way, marking Indian Railways’ major push in the religious tourism segment. The Ramayan Express will touch places related to the mythology of Ram, including Ayodhya.
Source: Indian Express