THE INDIAN POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. EXPLAINED: WHAT IS THE FLAG CODE AND HOW HAS IT BEEN CHANGED RECENTLY?
- THE CONTEXT:The Flag Code of India, 2002 was amended vide Order dated December 30, 2021, and National Flag made of polyester or machine made flag have also been allowed. However, the Union Government’s recent move to amend the National Flag Code, allowing polyester and imported cloth, has come as a shocker to many.
• The use, display and hoisting of the National Flag in the country is guided by an overarching set of instructions called the ‘Flag Code of India 2002’. It brings together all laws, conventions, practices, and instructions for the display of the National Flag. It governs the display of the National Flag by private, public, and government institutions.
• The Flag Code of India took effect on January 26, 2002. As per Clause 2.1 of the Flag Code of India, there shall be no restriction on the display of the National Flag by members of the general public, private organizations, educational institutions etc. consistent with the dignity and honour of the National Flag.
Why is it being criticised?
As per rule 1. 2 of part 1 of the Flag code of India 2002, only khadi or hand-spun cloth was the material for the flag. Use of other material was punishable. But the recent amendment has changed it to “The National Flag shall be made of hand spun and hand woven or machine made, cotton, polyester, wool, silk khadi bunting.” That means machine made polyester that is made in India or imported from elsewhere can now be used for the tricolour.
What do khadi weavers have to say?
• A section of Khadi weavers and activists have launched an agitation to protest the amendment. A nationwide protest has been called by the Karnataka Khadi GramudyogSamyukta Sangha (KKGSS) — a unit that spins the fabric used to make the National Flag, which has now paused operations in the wake of the move.
• KKGSS, which claims to be the only BIS approved khadi unit for the material used to make the Tricolour, say they used to get orders worth Rs 3-4 crore every year in the run up to the Independence Day, but this year, in the wake of the amendment, the demand has been abysmal.
• The unit became unique as a manufacturing centre for the National Flag in 2006, when it was accredited with ISI certification and an authorisation to sell the National Flag throughout the country. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission certified KKGSS as the sole manufacturer and supplier of the Tricolour to the entire country.
Flag Code of India 2002’
1.The National Flag shall be made of hand spun and hand woven wool/cotton/ silk/khadi bunting.
2. The colour of the top panel of the flag shall be Indian saffron and that of the bottom panel shall be India green. The middle panel shall be white, bearing at its centre and design of Ashoka Chakra in navy blue colour with 24 equally spaced spokes.
3. The Ashoka Chakra shall preferably be screen printed or otherwise printed or stencilled or suitable embroidered and shall be completely visible on both the sides of the flag in the centre of the white panel.
4. The National Flag of India shall be rectangular in shape.
5. The flags of 450×300 mm size are intended for the aircrafts on VVIP flights, 225×150 mm size for motor cars and 150×100 mm size for the table flags.
6. There shall be no restriction on the display of the National Flag by the private organisations, educational institutions and members of the general public etc. except to the extent provided in the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act,1950 and National Honour Act, 1971.
7. The flag shall not be used for commercial purposes in violation of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.
8. The flag should be displayed in open and should be as far as possible, be flown from sunrise to sunset.
9. The flag shall not be intentionally allowed to touch the ground or trail in the water.
10. The flag shall not be dipped in salute to any person or thing.
11. The flag shall not be used as a portion of costume or uniform of any description nor shall it be embroidered or printed upon cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins or any dress material.
12. Advertisement/Notification/Lettering of any kind should not be put upon the flag.
13. The flag shall not be used as a covering for the statue /monuments/building etc.
14. The flag shall not be used as a receptacle for receiving, delivering, holding or carrying anything.
15. The flag made of paper may be hoisted by public on the occasions like national, cultural and sports events. But paper flags should not be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event.
16. The flag shall not be intentionally displayed with the “Saffron” down.
17. A member of the private, public organisation or an educational institution may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions or otherwise with dignity and honour of the National Flag.
18. No other flag should be placed higher than or above or side by side with the National Flag.
19. A damaged or dirty flag should not be displayed.
20. A damaged and soiled National Flag shall be destroyed in a private ceremony preferable burning or by any other dignified manner.
THE HEALTH ISSUES
2. KERALA REPORTS INDIA’S FIRST MONKEYPOX CASE
- THE CONTEXT:The first case of monkeypox was confirmed in India on July 14,2022 after a person who had returned to Kerala from abroad developed symptoms of the disease.
According to Kerala Health Minister, the infection was diagnosed in a person who had returned from the United Arab Emirates three days ago and had come into contact with another confirmed case in the UAE. The person’s samples were tested at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, which confirmed monkey pox.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although with less clinical severity. The CDC’s monkeypox overview says the infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research — which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.
How it spread?
Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:
• direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
• respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
• touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
• pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
What are the key symptoms of monkeypox?
• According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox begins with a fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, and exhaustion. It also causes the lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy), which smallpox does not.
• The World Health Organisation underlines that it is important not to confuse monkeypox with chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis and medication-associated allergies.
How long does it take for symptoms to show after infection?
• Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.
• The Health Ministry notes that the period of communicability is “1-2 days before the rash until all the scabs fall off/get subsided”.
How does the disease progress?
• The disease goes through four different phases. The first invasion period, which is between 0-5 days, is characterised by fever, headache and lymph node swelling.
• The swelling of the lymphnodes is one of the characteristic features of monkeypox and is not observed in similar rash causing diseases like measles and chickenpox.
What is the treatment?
• There is no proven treatment for monkeypox yet. The WHO recommends supportive treatment depending on the symptoms. Those infected are advised to isolate immediately.
• According to the Ministry of Health guidelines on supportive management of monkeypox, skin rashes should be cleaned with simple antiseptic, and covered with light dressing in case of extensive lesions. Oral ulcers should be managed with warm saline gargles
• Doctors say monkeypox is a very well-understood condition that can be managed efficiently with available clinical remedies.
THE SOCIAL ISSUES AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
3. HOW MUCH ALCOHOL IS UNSAFE, BASED ON AGE: THE LANCET STUDY
- THE CONTEXT:Young people face higher health risks from alcohol consumption than older adults, according to a new analysis published in The Lancet.
The analysis from the Global Burden of Disease is the first study to report alcohol risk by geographical region, age, and sex. Using estimates of alcohol use in 204 countries, researchers calculated that 1.34 billion people (1.03 billion males and 0.312 billion females) consumed harmful amounts in 2020.
Higher risk under 40
• The analysis found males between ages 15-39 at the greatest risk of harmful alcohol consumption. In every region, males in this age group comprised the largest segment of the population drinking unsafe amounts. Among people who consumed unsafe amounts in 2020, 59.1% were in the 15-39 age group, and 76.7% of these were male.
• In this age group, the analysis found no health benefits to drinking alcohol, only health risks, with 60% of alcohol-related injuries occurring among this segment, including motor vehicle accidents, suicides, and homicides.
• In India, 1.85% females and 25.7% males in the 15-39 age group consumed unsafe amounts of alcohol in 2020. This was lower than 1.79% females and 23% males in the 40-64 age group who consumed unsafe amounts.
• For adults over age 40, too, health risks vary by age and region. However, the authors note that consuming a small amount of alcohol (for example, between one and two 3.4-ounce glasses of red wine) can provide some health benefits for people in this age group, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.
• According to doctors, “Our message is simple: young people should not drink, but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts. While it may not be realistic to think young adults will abstain from drinking, we do think it’s important to communicate the latest evidence so that everyone can make informed decisions about their health” .
ALL FOR NEW GUIDELINES
- The authors suggested that global alcohol consumption recommendations should be based on age and location, with the strictest guidelines targeted toward the 15-39 age group. They stressed that the consumption level recommended by many existing guidelines is too high for young people in all regions.
- How much to drink
• The study also estimates how much alcohol a person can drink before taking on excess risk to their health, compared to someone who does not drink any alcohol.
• AGE 15-39: For this group, the recommended amount of alcohol before risking health loss was 0.136 standard drinks per day (standard drink defined in box). That amount was slightly higher for females at 0.273 drinks per day.
• AGE 40-64: For those without underlying health conditions, safe alcohol consumption levels ranged from about half a standard drink per day (0.527 for males and 0.562 for females) to almost two standard drinks per day (1.69 for males and 1.82 for females).
• AGE 65 & OVER: A little more than three standard drinks per day (3.19 drinks for males and 3.51 for females).
The global strategy focuses on ten key areas of policy options and interventions at the national level. The ten areas for national action are:
1. Leadership, awareness and commitment.
2. Health services’ response.
3. Community action.
4. Drink-driving policies and countermeasures.
5. Availability of alcohol.
6. Marketing of alcoholic beverages.
7. Pricing policies.
8. Reducing the negative consequences of drinking and alcohol intoxication.
THE INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
4. I2U2 LEADERS’ SUMMIT HIGHLIGHTS INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY, FOOD PARKS IN INDIA
- THE CONTEXT:The first-ever meeting of I2U2 leaders focused on the food security crisis and clean energy. India, Israel, the US, and the UAE have committed to advance low-carbon industries and promote green tech.
• The first-ever meeting of I2U2 leaders on July 14 was held virtually and focused on the food security crisis and clean energy. The four nations have been tightening their diplomatic and economic ties over the past few years.
• The I2U2 nations (India, Israel, the US and the UAE) will advance a 300-megawatt (MW) hybrid renewable energy project in Gujarat while the UAE steps up its planned $2 billion investments into developing a series of integrated food parks across India, a joint statement issued after the inaugural summit of I2U2 leaders.
• The I2U2 leaders have committed to advancing low-carbon industries and promoting the development of critical emerging and green technologies, all while ensuring near- and long-term food and energy security.
• The Gujarat project will consist of wind and solar capacity complemented by a battery energy storage system and has ‘the potential to make India a global hub for alternate supply chains in the renewable energy sector’, the joint statement said.
• The US Trade and Development Agency has funded a feasibility study for the $330 million project while UAE-based companies are exploring opportunities to serve as critical knowledge and investment partners, it added. India has committed to a goal of achieving 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.The UAE is home to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the host of global climate change summit COP28 in 2023
What is the aim of I2U2 grouping?
• Its stated aim is to discuss “common areas of mutual interest, to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in our respective regions and beyond”.
• Six areas of cooperation have been identified by the countries mutually, and the aim is to encourage joint investments in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security. The press release added that with the help of “private sector capital and expertise”, the countries will look to modernise infrastructure, explore low carbon development avenues for industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies.
Significance of the initiative
• I2U2 seeks to empower the partners and encourages them to collaborate more closely, resulting in a more stable region.
• India is seen as a large consumer market as well as a large producer of high-tech and highly sought-after items in the United States.
• This has led India to enhance its relationship with Israel without jeopardising its ties with the UAE and other Arab states.
THE GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND INTERVENTION
5. BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO TO BE EXTENDED TO ALL DISTRICTS
- THE CONTEXT:According to guidelines issued by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, the Centre’s flagship programme for women’s empowerment, which focuses on education of girl child and improving sex ratio, will now be extended across the country.
• According to the guidelines, “The component will aim for zero-budget advertising and encouraging greater spend on activities that have on-ground impact…for promoting sports among girls, self-defence camps, construction of girls’ toilets, making available sanitary napkin vending machines and sanitary pads, especially in educational institutions, awareness.
• According to the guidelines, the ministry has now targeted improvement in the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) by 2 points every year, improvement in the percentage of institutional deliveries at 95% or above, 1% increase in 1st Trimester ANC Registration per year, 1 per cent increase in enrolment at secondary education level and skilling of girls and women per year, to check dropout rate among girls at secondary and higher secondary levels and raising awareness about safe menstrual hygiene management.
• The scheme will also look at increasing girls’ participation in sports by identifying talent and linking them with appropriate authorities under ‘Khelo India’.
• The ministry also plans to strengthen One-Stop Centres (OSCs), set up to help women facing violence, including domestic violence and trafficking, by adding 300 OSCs in districts which either have a high rate of crimes against women or are geographically large, preferably in aspirational districts.
- The OSCs will be the mainstay of the ministry at the district level for coordination and convergence with other initiatives under Nirbhaya Fund — such as women’s helplines, Anti-Human Trafficking Units, women’s help desks, and special fast-track courts, District Legal Service Authority, etc.VALUE ADDITION:BETI BACHAO BETI PADHAO
To Celebrate the Girl Child & Enable her Education
The objectives of the Scheme are as under:
• To prevent gender biased sex selective elimination
• To ensure survival and protection of the girl child
• To ensure education and participation of the girl child
• To increase girl’s participation in the fields of sports
BBBP scheme aims to achieve the following:
• Improvement in the Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) by 2 points every year,
• Improvement in the percentage of institutional deliveries or sustained at the rate of 95% or above,
• 1% increase in 1st Trimester ANC Registration per year, and
• 1% increase in enrolment at secondary education level and skilling of girls/women per year.
• To check dropout rate among girls at secondary and higher secondary levels.
• Raising awareness about safe menstrual hygiene management (MHM)
• Primary : Young and newly married couples and expecting parents, Adolescents (girls and boys) and youth, Households and communities
• Secondary : Schools and AWCs, Medical doctors/ practitioners, private hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic centres etc. Officials, PRIs/ULBs, frontline workers, Women Collectives and SHGs, civil society organizations, media, industry, religious leaders
6.THE PRADHAN MANTRI FASAL BIMA YOJANA (PMFBY)
- THE CONTEXT:The Union Agriculture Ministry announced that Andhra Pradesh has decided to rejoin the crop insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) from the ongoing kharif season. Andhra Pradesh was one of six states that have stopped implementation of the scheme over the last four years. The other five, which remain out, are Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Telangana.
Why did these states opt out?
ANDHRA PRADESH: The state left the PMFBY from rabi season 2019-20. Sources said the state had mentioned several reasons: that the scheme should be voluntary; those states should be given options to choose the risks covered; the scheme should be universal; the cut-off date for enrolment should be flexible; and fourth, the state should be given option to use their own database of E-crop, an application used by the state government to collect information about crops.
BIHAR: The first state to opt out, from 2018-19, after implementing the scheme in 2016-17 (27.1 lakh farmers insured) and 2017-18 (23 lakh). Sources say there were main three reasons for the state’s decision.
• First, the state wanted universal coverage.
• Second, the state government wanted zero premium for farmers (meaning the entire premium should be paid by the government.) Under the PMFBY, a farmer is required to pay as premium 2% of the sum insured or actuarial rate, whichever is less, for all kharif foodgrain and oilseed crops; 1.5% of sum insured or actuarial rate, whichever is less, for all rabi food grain and oilseed crops; and 5% for horticultural crops. Sources said the Centre can not make farmers’ premium zero. However, states such as Haryana, Goa and Puducherry are paying farmers’ share from their own budget for selected crops.
JHARKHAND: Jharkhand stopped implementing the scheme soon after the Centre revamped it in February 2020, effective from kharif 2020. Under the revised guidelines, “The non-payment of the State Share of premium subsidy within the prescribed timelines as defined in the seasonality discipline will lead to the disqualification of the State Government to implement the scheme in the next season.”
• Sources said Jharkhand’s share of premium subsidy was overdue for 2018-19 and 2019-20. This was the main reason that Jharkhand opted out from 2020-21. Besides, there were other “operational challenges” and “political reasons”, the sources said.
WEST BENGAL: Sources said the reason for West Bengal not implementing the PMFBY is purely “political”. The state wants to implement the scheme without mentioning Pradhan Mantri in the scheme’s name, which is not possible, sources said.
• West Bengal implemented the scheme for three years from 2016-17 to 2018-19, covering 41.3 lakh farmers in 2016-17, 40.4 lakh in 2017-18, and 51.3 lakh in 2018-19.
GUJARAT: Gujarat implemented the PMFBY from 2016-17 to 2019-20, covering 19.8 lakh farmers in 2016-17, 17.6 lakh in 2017-18, 21.7 lakh in 2018-19, and 24.8 lakh in 2019-20. Sources say, after the scheme was revamped, Gujarat invited tenders for three years in 2020 but insurance companies quoted a very high premium, and hence the state opted out.
TELANGANA: Telangana too implemented the PMFBY for the initial four years, covering 9.7 lakh, 11 lakh, 8 lakh in 2018-19 and 10.3 lakh farmers in successive years before stopping in 2020-21. Sources said Telangana’s share of premium was overdue for 2018-19 and 2019-20, the main reason why it did not notify the scheme for 2020-21.
• The Agriculture Ministry is in talks with the state government to bring back on board. A central team made a presentation before of a Group of Ministers of Telangana on June 23, said sources, who expect the state to rejoin from the coming rabi season or next year.
PRADHAN MANTRI FASAL BIMA YOJANA (PMFBY)
• To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crops as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
• To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
• To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
• To ensure the flow of credit to the agriculture sector.
Highlights of the scheme
• There will be a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops. In the case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%. The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low, and the balance premium will be paid by the Government to provide the full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
• There is no upper limit on Government subsidies. Even if the balance premium is 90%, it will be borne by the Government.
Farmers to be covered
• All farmers growing notified crops in a notified area during the season who have an insurable interest in the crop are eligible.
• To address the demand of farmers, the scheme has been made voluntary for all farmers from Kharif 2020.
• Earlier to Kharif 2020, the enrolment under the scheme was compulsory for the following categories of farmers:
Farmers in the notified area who possess a Crop Loan account/KCC account (called Loanee Farmers) to whom credit limit is sanctioned/renewed for the notified crop during the crop season.
And Such other farmers whom the Government may decide to include from time to time.
Voluntary coverage: Voluntary coverage may be obtained by all farmers not covered above, including Crop KCC/Crop Loan Account holders whose credit limit is not renewed.
THE PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS
QUESTION OF THE DAY
- Q. Consider the following statements in the context of zoonotic disease:
1. It refers to the transmission of diseases between animals and humans.
2. Deforestation could be the primary reason as it increases the contact between humans and wild animals
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
ANSWER FOR 14TH JULY 2022
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