12 October 2019 01:09:50
By Aspire IAS
The Big Picture - Fight against malnutrition
In a bid to tackle malnutrition, government is developing an Atlas to map the crops and food grains grown in different regions of the country so that nutritious protein rich food in local areas can be promoted. The ministry of Women and Child Development in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Deendayal Research Institute is developing a POSHAN atlas under POSHAN abhiyan, government's multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022. According to the World Bank Global Nutrition Report – 2018, malnutrition costs India at least $10 billion annually in terms of lost productivity, illness and death and is seriously retarding improvements in human development and further reduction of childhood mortality. POSHAN abhiyan is focusing on ensuring the nutrition of children, women, and pregnant mothers in impoverished areas and the government seems to be looking at community management of the problem.
What is Malnutrition?
Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019:
Causes of Malnutrition:
The causes for malnutrition are various and are multidimensional. To sum up, they include:
Malnutrition is a complex and multi-dimensional issue. It is primarily caused by several factors, including poverty, inadequate food consumption, inequitable food distribution, improper maternal, infant and child feeding, and care practices, inequity and gender imbalances, poor sanitary and environmental conditions, and restricted access to quality health, education and social care services. It once again forces us to ask why despite rapid economic growth, declining levels of poverty, enough food to export, and a multiplicity of government programmes, malnutrition amongst the poorest remains high. Governance can be termed ‘good’ only when it banishes hunger and starvation. The poor must also be valued like the rest of the population since attaching less value to their lives is one unstated reason why their nutritional needs are not taken care of as they should be.
11 October 2019 11:57:46
By Aspire IAS
In Depth – Nobel
The 2019 Nobel Prize announcements were made this week. The first prize in the category of physiology or medicine have been given to a trio of scientists for their work on cells’ ability to sense and react to oxygen availability. The Nobel Prize in Physics has also been announced for three scientists for their contribution to the understanding of the evolution of the universe. While for Chemistry as well, the Nobel Prize has been given to three scientists who have worked to develop and advance lithium-ion batteries. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who made peace last year with bitter foe Eritrea, has been awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Prize is widely regarded as the most prestigious award given for intellectual achievement in the world. They are awarded annually from a fund bequeathed for the purpose by Alfred Nobel. The laureates will be honoured at an elegant ceremony on December 10 - the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel.
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2019:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea. The prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.
In the wake of the peace process with Eritrea, Prime Minister Abiy has engaged in other peace and reconciliation processes in East and Northeast Africa. In September 2018 he and his government contributed actively to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti after many years of political hostility. Additionally, Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict. In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country. Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement.
Abiy Ahmed Ali has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.
Noble Prize 2019:
Nobel Prize in Physics:
Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz:
Noble Prize in Chemistry:
John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino :
“For the development of lithium-ion batteries”.
Noble Prize in Medicines:
William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza:
“For their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability”.
Nobel Prize- overview:
How candidates are nominated?
11 October 2019 11:14:18
By Aspire IAS
The Big Picture: GST Review
The government on Thursday appointed a committee to recommend measures to augment Goods and Services Tax collections, check evasion and make the new regime simpler for ease of compliance that would eventually help in expanding the tax base. “With the approval of the competent authority, it has been decided that a committee of officers be constituted to suggest measures to augment GST revenue,” an order issued by the GST Council secretariat stated. The committee has also been asked to look into systemic changes, including checks and balances to prevent misuse. One of the terms of reference is for the committee to suggest measures to improve voluntary compliance. Its mandate is also to suggest measures to expand the tax base and to improve compliance monitoring and anti-evasion measures using better data analytics. The panel has members from both the Centre and states. GST commissioners of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab are members of the committee. The central government is represented by principal commissioner and joint secretaries, among others.
What is GST?
Benefits of GST:
For Central and State Government:
Simple and Easy to administer: Because multiple indirect taxes at the central and state levels are being replaced by a single tax “GST”. Moreover, backed with a robust end to end IT system, it would be easier to administer.
Better control on leakage: Because of better tax compliance, reduction of rent seeking, transparency in taxation due to IT use, an inbuilt mechanism in the design of GST that would incentivize tax compliance by traders.
Higher revenue efficiency: Since the cost of collection will decrease along with an increase in the ease of compliance, it will lead to higher tax revenue.
A Brighter Economy:
The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax will be a very noteworthy step in the field of indirect tax reforms in India. By merging a large number of Central and State taxes into a single tax, GST is expected to significantly ease double taxation and make taxation overall easy for the industries. For the end customer, the most beneficial will be in terms of reduction in the overall tax burden on goods and services. Introduction of GST will also make Indian products competitive in the domestic and international markets. Last but not least, the GST, because of its transparent character, will be easier to administer. Once implemented, the proposed taxation system holds great promise in terms of sustaining growth for the Indian economy.
10 October 2019 12:27:19
By Aspire IAS
In Depth - Wuhan to Mamallapuram
India is all ready to host Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will be visiting the country from October 11 to 12 for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The summit will be held in the ancient, coastal town of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu. During the summit the two countries will exchange views on deepening India-China Closer Development Partnership. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping are expected to continue their discussions on issues of bilateral, regional and global importance, and use the opportunity to find broad pathways to deepen ties between the two neighbours. In addition, trade, political relations and ways to deal with terror are also expected to be discussed in the Modi-Xi summit. Elaborate arrangements have been made ahead of crucial summit in Mamallapuram, which has been virtually turned into a fortress.
Why Mamallapuram is chosen?
What is the significance of these informal summits?
Historical connect between Mamallapuram with China:
What are the conflicting issues?
China and India continue to have a contradictory outlook on many strategic issues including the nature of Asian security, regional stability and the role of the U.S. in the region. If India does not proceed with care and caution, the Mamallapuram summit could well prove to be a step back from Wuhan. With proper handling, the forthcoming meet could, on the other hand, provide India’s leaders with a realistic estimate as to where India-China relations are headed.
10 October 2019 11:46:29
By Aspire IAS
RSTV Vishesh: Strengthening Health Systems in Indian States.
The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The determinants of good health are: access to various types of health services, and an individual’s lifestyle choices, personal, family and social relationships.
National Health Mission:
After the success of the National Rural health Mission, the National Health Mission (NHM) was announced in 2012 covering all the villages and towns in the country. The National Health mission has two sub-missions:
The core principle of NHM:
Universal Health Coverage:
The NHM shall extend all over the country, both in urban and rural areas and promote universal access to a continuum of cashless, health services from primary to tertiary care.
Achieving Quality Standards:
Standards would include the complete range of conditions, covering emergency, RCH, prevention and management of Communicable and Non-Communicable diseases incorporating essential medicines, and Essential and Emergency Surgical Care (EESC).
NITI AAYOG Health Index:
Some States such as Rajasthan have improved their health status, but what is worrisome is that States such as Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have not improved at all. The index analyses overall performance and incremental improvement in the States and the Union Territories for the period with 2015-16 as the base year and 2017-18 as the reference year.
The report is an annual systematic performance tool to measure the performance of the States and UTs. It ranks states and union territories on their year on year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other. The ranking is categorized as Larger States, Smaller States and Union Territories (UTs), to ensure comparison among similar entities. The Health Index is a weighted composite Index based on 23 indicators grouped into the domains of Health Outcomes, Governance and Information, and Key Inputs. Each domain has been assigned weights based on its importance and has been equally distributed among indicators.
What are the major problems of Health Sector in India?
Need to redefine the definition of Health:
Making private practitioners an important part of the public healthcare:
It is high time for UN bodies/World Health Assembly to acknowledge the need for redefining health in light of the SDGs. Universal health coverage should be designed based on the revised definition of health. That will lead to a better understanding, and attainment, of holistic health and well-being. This will help in directing focused priority and mobilization of resources in the right direction.
History is full of examples of governments empowering their people to propagate a holistic approach to what we now term universal health coverage. In the third century BC, emperor Ashoka is believed to have said, “I am going to propagate medicinal herbs throughout my kingdom to ensure complete accessibility to all my subjects as it is my ethical responsibility to provide good health to all people
09 October 2019 11:28:42
By Aspire IAS
RSTV Vishesh: World Post Day
World Post Day
Celebrated each year on 9 October, the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern. It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan in 1969. Since then, countries across the world participate annually in the celebrations. The Posts in many countries use the event to introduce or promote new postal products and services.
In 2015 countries all over the world committed themselves to working together towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end extreme poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice, and take action to reverse climate change--to name just some of these 17 agreed new Goals. Playing its part in this global effort, the Post today has a more relevant role than ever by providing infrastructure for development.
History of World Post Day:
Every year several activities are holding to celebrate this day in many countries. The activities include:
To create awareness about the postal sector in people’s lives and businesses.
09 October 2019 01:01:25
By Aspire IAS
In Depth: Cosmos - New Dimensions
On 8th October, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physics. Three scientists have been awarded the prize this year for their contribution to the understanding of the evolution of the universe. One half of the prize has been given to Canadian-American scientist James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”. The other half has been given jointly to Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for their discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”The laureates will receive the award at an elegant ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the death of prize founder Alfred Nobel.
What Is Cosmology?
History of cosmology & astronomy:
Big Bang Theory:
Steady State Theory:
Universe is always expanding but maintaining a constant average density, with matter being continuously created to form new stars and galaxies at the same rate that old ones become unobservable as a consequence of their increasing distance and velocity of recession.
A steady-state universe has no beginning or end in time, and from any point within it the view on the grand scale i.e., the average density and arrangement of galaxies is the same. Galaxies of all possible ages are intermingled.
Exoplanet: History of Detection
1988: First suspected scientific detection of an exoplanet .
1992:First exoplanet orbiting PSR B1257+12 deteced which is about twice the mass of the Moon.
The most massive planet listed on the NASA Exoplanet Archive is HR 2562 b about 30 times the mass of Jupiter, although according to some definitions of a planet (based on the nuclear fusion of deuterium, it is too massive to be a planet and may be a brown dwarf instead.
1996: Two more planets discovered.
1996-2006: At least 100 exoplanets recognised.