Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 20, 2017


BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017

What -

  • India is going to conduct first BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017 (DMEx-2017)

When -

  • from October 10-13, 2017.


  • It will be conducted by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency


  • In the National Capital Region (NCR).

Objective -
The purpose of the exercise is to provide platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) member countries.

Enlighten about the exercise –

  • Delegates from all seven nations of BIMSTEC grouping, including India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are participating in BIMSTEC DMEx-2017.
  • The main focus of exercise is to test region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental interaction and agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response.
  • BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will help create synergy and synchronise efforts to institutionalise regional cooperation among member countries.
  • It will help strengthen effective utilisation of Search & Rescue Teams for Disaster Relief & Emergency Response, including Emergency Rapid Assessment Teams and Management of mass casualties, especially in situations involving breakdown of communication and infrastructure.
  • Majority of the BIMSTEC countries are situated in South Asian Region (SAR) prone to natural disasters such as foods, cyclones, earthquakes,


Zero Hunger Programme

What -

  • India’s ambitious Zero Hunger Programme through interventions in farm sector

To launched on

  • World Food Day (October 16)

With focus on

  • Agriculture, nutrition and health in a symbiotic manner.

Implementing agencies -

  • The Programme will be initiated by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in association with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

Enlighten about the programme

  • The programme consists of organisations of farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens for bio fortified plants and initiation of ‘Zero Hunger’ training.
  • A genetic garden for bio fortified plants contains germplasm of naturally bio fortified crops through plant breeding.
  • It has plants and crops that help supplement micronutrient deficiencies, including iron, zinc, vitamin A and iodine among others.
  • The Programme initially will be launched in three districts – Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Koraput (Odisha) and Thane (Maharashtra).
  • These three districts will act as model of integrated approach to deal with hunger and malnutrition by adopting suitable agricultural or horticultural practices.
  • The Programme will ensure suitable methods of measuring impact of intervention by identifying the nutritional maladies in each district and applying appropriate agricultural/horticultural and animal husbandry remedies.
  • This dedicated farm-based programme is in sync with India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger by 2030.
  • It will be in addition government’s plan to deal with issue of malnutrition through various other initiatives under its goal to make India malnutrition free by 2022.

Law Ministry

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bills -2017

Passed by -

  • The Union Law ministry

Why -

  • To empower government to confiscate property of economic offenders and defaulters who flee India.

The bill

  • The Bill seeks to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by fleeing the country.
  • It was drafted in pursuance of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2017-18 Budget speech promising legislative changes or even new law to confiscate the assets of such fugitives.

Enlighten about the bill –

  • It defines fugitive economic offender as any individual against whom warrant for arrest in relation to economic offence has been issued and person has left the country and refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.
  • The burden of proof for establishing that an individual is fugitive economic offender will be on authorities.
  • The proposed bill will be applicable in cases where the value of offences is over Rs 100 crore.
  • It will allow Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the premier technical snoop wing under the finance ministry, to le an application for declaration of fugitive economic offender for confiscation of their assets.
  • The bill entrusts responsibility to try such cases to the courts under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
  • The bill has provision for appointment of an administrator to dispose off property of fugitive offender to pay off the creditors.

Rural Development

Saheed Gram Vikas Yojana –

Implementing by

  • Jharkhand Government has launched Shaheed Gram Vikas Yojana


  • Aimed at developing villages of freedom fighters in the state.

Launching place -

  • It was launched from Ulihatu Village, birth place of freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

Enlighten about the scheme

  • Under this scheme, villages of many tribal freedom fighters will be developed and their habitants will be provided basic amenities.
  • These villages had remained inaccessible for long time after Independence because of Left-wing extremism.
  • Now they will be provided with 136 pucca houses.

Enlighten about Birsa Munda

  • Birsa Munda was tribal, freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to Munda tribe from Chhotanagpur area.
  • He had led Munda rebellion towards end of 19th century against British Raj.
  • Starting in 1895, revolt was against interference by British administration which transformed tribal agrarian system into feudal state around Chhotanagpur area, as well as interference in their religious matters from Missionary activities.
  • Birsa Munda had adopted Guerilla Warfare techniques to launch surprise attacks in which many police ocials were killed.
  • The revolt was brutally suppressed by Britishers. Birsa Munda was arrested and was sentenced to death and died in jail of cholera

North East Development

North East Venture Fund

  • The Ministry of Development of Northeast has invited startups from all over country to avail benefits of Northeast Venture Fund in a bid to make Northeast India favourite destination for young Startups.
  • The dedicated Venture fund aims to remove constraints faced by youngster when he sets out to be on his own by providing financial relief.
  • Further it seeks to tap vast unexplored avenues in Northeast for generating livelihood particularly in fruit, food, handicraft and tourism industry.

Northeast Venture Fund (NVF)

  • NVF is the first dedicated venture capital fund for North-Eastern region.
  • It has been set up by North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFC).
  • Its purpose is to encourage entrepreneurship in North-eastern region, primarily by offering support to first-generation entrepreneurs.

Social Welfare

Reimagining the OBC quota

  • Since reservations cover only half the college seats and public-sector jobs, the mismatch is obvious
  • It is not surprising that there is tremendous internal competition within groups

How to make reservation a significant difference in the lives of the marginalised groups?

  • The available public sector jobs cover around 3% population
  • These will only offer opportunities to a minuscule fraction of individuals in reserved categories

How will Government know which castes are the most disadvantaged?

  • At the moment, the only reputable nationwide data on caste comes from the 1931 colonial Census and some of the ad hoc surveys conducted for specific castes
  • The Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 was supposed to provide up-to-date comprehensive data
  • In the SECC in 2015, it was found that about 4.6 million distinct caste names, including names of gotra, surname and phonetic variations were returned, making the results almost impossible to interpret
  • For nearly 80 million individuals, caste data were believed to be erroneous
  • Since then we have heard little about the quality of caste data in SECC and even less about its results
  • Preparations for Census 2021 are ongoing
  • There is still time to create an expert group to evaluate the methodology for collecting caste data and include it in the Census forms
  • Losing this opportunity would leave us hanging for another 10 years without good data for undertaking sub-categorisation of OBC quota

How to address caste based inequalities?

  • A two-pronged approach that focusses on eliminating discrimination and expanding the proportion of population among the disadvantaged groups could be a solution

The way forward

  • The present move by the government to rethink OBC quota could potentially be used to ensure that we have better data on caste-based disadvantages for future discourse
  • It also indicates a mood that wants to ensure that the benefits of reservation are widely spread
  • Increased attempts at linking benefits to Aadhaar allow us with an option to ensure that reservation benefits are not captured by a few


Restructuring the Medical Council of India to eliminate corruption

Why this move

  • The Medical Council of India (MCI) has been criticized for providing opaque accreditation to medical colleges and members have been accused of taking bribes
  • NITI Aayog have proposed replacing the compromised MCI with a new National Medical Commission (NMC), outlined in National Medical Commission Bill of 2016.

What the difference -

  • The NMC would split the selection, advising, and actual accreditation process into three separate boards.
  • By dividing power, the hope is to create a system of checks and balances.
  • All members of the accreditation board are supposed to be ex-officio members of the advisory board.
  • This defies the logic of good governance and prone to corruption.
  • For this reason, we recommend removing all members of the accreditation board from the advisory board.
  • The accreditation board is not given direct jurisdiction over the accreditation process.
  • Rather, it is given authority over four sub-boards that look into the four core areas of accreditation: undergraduate, postgraduate (PG), registrar of medical professionals, and compliance.
  • The compliance wing is supposed to hire a third party to check that colleges meet standards set by the other sub-boards.
  • This monopolistic nature of this service will produce unnecessary bureaucracy, stifle smooth accreditation.
  • We recommend the creation of four regional medical councils which will lead to competition and an increase in the quality of accreditation services overall.
  • The current MCI rules prohibit qualified MBBS doctors without a PG degree from performing procedures such as ultrasound and interpreting chest X-rays.
  • The NMC should revisit these rigid regulations to raise the effective availability of qualified doctors in India.

Problem of emigration of physicians

  • India is the largest source of physicians in the US and the UK, and the second and third largest in Australia and Canada.
  • This brain drain is expensive because many of them are trained in colleges subsidized by the government
  • It is within the purview of the NMC Bill to recommend a policy to limit emigration of newly graduated doctors.
  • Thailand successfully adopted such a measure in 1972 which mandates three years of government work for all post-graduates
  • Kerala implemented compulsory rural service for all MBBS and PG doctors studying in government medical colleges as a part of Arogyakeralam, its version of the National Rural Health Mission.