Government Schemes & Policies
- Cabinet approves relaxation of Aadhaar seeding of data of the beneficiaries under PM-Kisan
Issues related to Health & Education
- Health Ministry launches WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy
- World Mental Health Day: All you need to know
- Ministry of Skill Development Launches Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship Programme
- Rural children breastfed more: survey
- India receives first tranche of Swiss account details
Defence & Security Issues
- Malware Smominru still active, infects 4,700 PCs a day
- Cabinet approves Inclusion of families of J&K-1947 who initially opted to move outside J&K
Science & Technology
- NASA Slammed a Rocket Body Into the Moon for Science 10 Years Ago Today
Key Facts for Prelims
- Why Indian Air force Day is celebrated:
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Government Schemes & Policies
Cabinet approves relaxation of Aadhaar seeding of data of the beneficiaries under PM-Kisan
The Union Cabinet has approved the relaxation of the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar Seeded data as a pre-condition for release of funds to the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri KisanSamman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme.
Need for relaxation
- The farmers are in need of money to take care of various farming activities and are still preparing for Rabi season. Non-seeding of beneficiaries’ details with Aadhaar number will delay the release of further instalments under PM- Kisan.
- Therefore, the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding for release of benefits after 1st August, 2019 has been relaxed till 30th November, 2019 to enable immediate release of benefits to a large number of farmers who are not able to avail the same due this requirement.
What is the meaning of Aadhar seeding?
- Aadhaar seeding is a process by which Aadhaar numbers of residents are included in the service delivery database of service providers (such as Banks) for preventing duplication of database and Aadhaar based authentication during service delivery.
About the PM-KISAN
In the Interim budget of 2019-20, Government has announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)’ for providing an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers.
Highlights of Programme
- Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.
- This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each.
- Funded by Government of India, this programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs. 75,000 crores.
Small and marginal landholder family comprises of
- Husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to two hectare as per the land records of the concerned states.
Significance of Programme
- Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit.
- PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season.
- PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.
- So far, over 8 crore Indian farmers have been enrolled in PM-Kisan, even though there are around 14.5 crore landholding farmers in India.
- Among the States where the enrolment is less than half are Madhya Pradesh (49 per cent), Tamil Nadu (47 per cent), Kerala (40 per cent) and Bihar (26 per cent).
Issues related to Health & Education
Health Ministry launches WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy
The Union Health Ministry has launched the ‘World Health Organisation (WHO) India Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) 2019–2023: A Time of Transition’.
About the ‘World Health Organisation (WHO) India Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) 2019–2023
- The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) provides a strategic roadmap for WHO to work with the India towards achieving its health sector goals and in improving the health of its population.
- The India CCS is one of the first that fully aligns itself with the newly adopted WHO 13th General Programme of Work and its ‘triple billion’ targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and WHO South-East Asia Region’s eight Flagship Priorities.
- It identifies current and emerging health needs and challenges such as non-communicable diseases, antimicrobial resistance and air pollution.
- It builds on other key strategic policy documents including India’s National Health Policy 2017, Ayushman Bharat, National Viral Hepatitis programme etc.
Four areas are identified for strategic cooperation of WHO with India under CCS:
- To accelerate progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
- To promote health and wellness by addressing determinants of health
- To protect the population better against health emergencies
- To enhance India’s global leadership in health
About WHO Country Cooperation Strategies
- The Country Cooperation Strategy (CCS) is a document to guide WHO’s work in countries.
- CCS is a medium-term vision for WHO’s technical cooperation with a given Member State, and supports the country’s national health policy, strategy or plan.
- It builds upon the work that WHO has been carrying out in the last several years.
- In addition, it identifies current and emerging health needs and challenges such as non-communicable diseases, antimicrobial resistance and air pollution.
About 13th general programme of work 2019−2023
The WHO 13th General Programme of Work (GPW 13) was adopted by WHO in May 2018.
- It has three interconnected strategic priorities to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all ages — achieving universal health coverage, addressing health emergencies and promoting healthier populations.
The triple-billion target, under WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work (2019-2023) aims:
- To provide a billion more people with universal health coverage
- To protect another billion people from health emergencies
- To provide a further billion with better health and well-being over the next five years.
WHO South East Asia
WHO South-East Asia Countries
- Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- Sri Lanka
8 flagship priorities of WHO South East Asia
- Routine immunization systems and services are strengthened
- Measles is eliminated and rubella / CRS controlled
- Polio-free status is maintained
- Elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus is sustained
- Control of Japanese encephalitis is accelerated
- Control of hepatitis B is accelerated
- Introduction of new vaccines and related technologies is accelerated
- Access to high quality vaccines is ensured
World Mental Health Day: All you need to know
World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
About World Mental Health Day
- World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 every year. It was first celebrated in 1992.
- It is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH).
- It aims to mobilize efforts in support of mental health and provides an opportunity for everyone to talk and discuss mental health issues, and what more needs to be done.
- For the year 2019, the theme is ‘Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention.’
- On World Mental Health Day 2019, World Health Organization (WHO) initiated a campaign called “40 seconds of action” to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world.
Mental health statistics
- Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which people realize their own potential, can cope with normal life stresses, can work productively, and can contribute to their community.
- Mental disorders affect nearly 12 percent of the world’s population or one out of every four people around the world.
- As per WHO report of 2002, 154 million people globally suffered from depression, which is a form of mental illness.
- Mental health services lack human and financial resources in many countries, particularly low and middle income countries.
[Ref: The Hindu, India Today, News18]
Ministry of Skill Development Launches Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship Programme
To boost skill development at the district level, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) signed a contract with the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore for introducing a two-year fellowship programme Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship (MGNF) programme.
About the MGNF programme
- The MGNF program has been designed under Skills Acquisition and Knowledge Awareness for Livelihood Promotion (SANKALP).
- The fellowship aims to address the challenge of non-availability of personnel for implementation of various programmes at national, state and district levels.
- It has an in-built component of on-ground practical experience with the district administration.
- It is launched on a pilot basis in 75 districts across Gujarat, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- In the course of their training, fellows will work under the close supervision of state skill development missions (SSDM) and will spend time and effort in understanding skilling challenges and gaps in the district.
- They are expected to enrich skilling programmes by bringing in fresh thinking to local planning, execution, community interaction and outcome management.
- Fellows will receive a stipend of Rs. 50,000 in the first year and Rs. 60,000 in the second year.
- On completion of their engagement, they will be awarded a Certificate in Public Policy and Management from IIM Bangalore.
Eligibility for fellowship
- Must be 21-30 years’ age-group
- Proficiency in official language of state of fieldwork
- Have a graduation degree and be citizens of India
- Launched by the Government in January 2018, SANKALP is a World Bank loan assisted project that aims to aims to implement the mandate of the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM).
- Four key result areas have been identified under SANKALP viz: (i) Institutional Strengthening; (ii) Quality Assurance; (iii) Inclusion; and (iv) Expanding Skills through PPPs.
- Setting up National Skill Certification Body
- Set up unified National Accreditation board within National Skill Development Agency (NSDA)
- Development of Labour Market Information System (LMIS)
- Skill Development Management System (SDMS)
- Kaushal Mart
- Takshila: National Portal for trainers
- India International Skill Centers (IISC)
- Skills Fund for setting up industry lead and job oriented skill training institutions
Rural children breastfed more: survey
Breastfeeding is inversely proportional to household wealth and other factors, as per the first-ever national nutrition survey conducted by the government.
Highlights of first-ever national nutrition survey
- 85 % Children in 12 and 15 months’ age in rural areas are breastfed.
Malnutrition among children in urban India is due to:
- Poor levels of breastfeeding
- Higher prevalence of iron and Vitamin D deficiency
- Obesity due to long commute by working mothers
- Prosperity and lifestyle patterns
- 76 % Children in 12 and 15 months’ age in urban areas are breastfed.
- Rural parts of India have higher percentage of children suffering from stunting, underweight and wasting and lower consumption of milk products.
Comparison between Urban and rural scenario
- Breastfeeding is inversely proportional to household wealth and other factors such as working mothers who have to travel long distances to reach their workplace. Because of these reasons, rural children receive meals more frequently in a day at 44% as compared to 37% of urban children. However, a higher proportion of children residing in urban areas (27%) are fed an adequately diverse diet as compared to those in rural areas (19%).
- Wealthier households in urban areas and sedentary lifestyle of children may also be responsible for higher deficiency of Vitamin D in urban areas as compared to rural areas.
- Children and adolescents residing in urban areas have a higher (40 %) prevalence of iron deficiency compared to their rural parts (29%).
- Children in urban areas are also overweight and obese as indicated by subscapular skinfold thickness (SSFT) for their age. Children and adolescents in cities had higher SSFT than in rural areas.
- Rural children lag in intake of zinc which causes diarrhoea, growth retardation, loss of appetite and impaired immune function. Among children aged 1-4 years, zinc deficiency is more common in rural areas (20%) compared to urban areas (16%).
- Rural areas also witness higher prevalence of stunting (37% in rural and 27% in urban), underweight (36% in rural and 26% in urban) and severe acute malnutrition.
India receives first tranche of Swiss account details
India has got the first set of Swiss bank account details of its nationals under a new automatic information exchange pact, a major milestone in the government’s fight against black money stashed abroad.
Obtaining Swiss bank account details
- India is among 75 countries with which Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has exchanged information on financial accounts within the framework of global standards on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).
- The exchanged details include identification, account and financial information including name, address, state of residence and tax identification number, capital income etc. However, the FTA cannot provide any information on the amount of financial assets.
- The exchanged information allows the tax authorities to verify whether taxpayers have correctly declared their financial accounts abroad in their tax returns.
- According to the international agreement, the exchange of information have to take place within nine months after the end of the respective calendar year. This means the next exchange will take place in September 2020.
- AEOI Regime between Switzerland and India kicked off from September 1, 2019. Under this mechanism, India will start receiving information on all financial accounts held by Indian residents in Switzerland, for the year 2018.
What is Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI)?
- Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) is systematic transmission of bulk taxpayer information by the source countryto the residence country, which is possible under most of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) and Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC).
- The information which is exchanged automatically is normally collected in the source country on a routine basis.
- Automatic exchange can also be used to transmit other types of useful information such as changes of residence, the purchase or disposition of immovable property
- As a result, the tax authority of a taxpayer’s country of residence can check its tax records to verify that taxpayers have accurately reported their foreign source income.
Need for AEOI:
- Taxpayers operate cross border whereas tax administration is limited to national borders. This has helped tax evasion by shifting money to other countries by citizens. Both tax evasion and tax avoidance have escalated; facilitated by quick transfer of income from one country to another.
- Vast amounts of money are kept offshore and go untaxed to the extent that taxpayers fail to comply with tax obligations in their home jurisdictions.
- Tackling this cross-national transfer of money to avoid and evade taxes indicate that national efforts are not enough to fight black money. Hence there is the need for tax cooperation and tax information exchanges between countries.
Significance of AEOI:
- Enables the discovery of formerly undetected tax evasion.
- Enable governments to recover tax revenue lost to non-compliant taxpayers.
- It will further strengthen international efforts to increase transparency, cooperation, and accountability among financial institutions and tax administrations.
- Generate secondary benefits by increasing voluntary disclosures of concealed assets and by encouraging taxpayers to report all relevant information.
What is CRS?
- Although information exchange about bank account information on ‘request basis’has resulted in improving transparency significantly, its scope is limited since the offshore financial centres and tax havens are obliged to provide information only when the requesting State has some information already in its possession.
- Hence, on the request of the G20, the OECD developed a single uniform standard for automatic exchange of information, the Common Reporting Standard (CRS)on AEOI.
- India had committed to exchange information automatically by 2017 by joining CRS. However, countries like Switzerland, which has a dubious record of banking secrecy laws, implemented it in 2018. Hence, Indian government was able to get the details about the black money holders in Swiss Banks in 2018 only.
Defence & Security Issues
Malware Smominru still active, infects 4,700 PCs a day
Malware Smominru, whose incidence was first reported in 2017, continues to infect computers in a big way. It infects 4,700 computers a day and infected 90,000 machines globally in the month of August alone.
How does Malware Smominru affects computers?
- Smominru creates a new user, called admin$, vesting itself with admin privileges on the system and starts to download a malicious softwares. It uses infected computers for mining cryptocurrency.
What is Malware?
- Malware is defined as a software designed to perform an unwanted illegal act via the computer network.
- Malware can be classified based on how they get executed, how they spread, and/or what they do.
Various types of Malware
- A virus is a program that can infect other programs by modifying them to include a possible evolved copy of itself.
- A virus can spread throughout a computer or network using the authorization of every user using it to infect their program. Every program so infected may also act as a virus and thus the infection grows.
- Viruses normally affect program files, but in some cases they also affect data files disrupting the use of data and destroying them completely.
- Worms are also disseminated through computer networks, unlike viruses, computer worms are malicious programs that copy themselves from system to system, rather than infiltrating legitimate files.
- For example, a mass mailing e-mail worm is a worm that sends copies of itself via e-mail. A network worm, on the other hand makes copies of itself throughout a network, thus disrupting an entire network.
- Trojan or trojan horse is a program that generally impairs the security of a system.
- Trojans are used to create back-doors (a program that allows outside access into a secure network) on computers so that a hacker can have access to the secure network.
- Hoax is an e-mail that warns the user of a certain system that is harming the computer. The message thereafter instructs the user to run a procedure (most often in the form of a download) to correct the harming system. When this program is run, it invades the system and deletes an important file.
- Spyware invades a computer and, as its name implies, monitors a user’s activities without consent. Spywares are usually forwarded through unsuspecting e-mails with bonafide e-mail i.ds. Spyware continues to infect millions of computers globally.
- Adware is the name given to programs designed to display advertisements on your computer, redirect your search requests to advertising websites and collect marketing data about you. For example, adware typically collects the types of websites that you visit so advertisers can display custom advertisements.
- Ransomware is a type of malware that locks the data on a victim’s computer, typically by encryption. The cybercriminal behind the malware demands payment before decrypting the ransomed data and returning access to the victim.
Phishing and Spear Phishing
- Phishing is a cybercrime where a target is contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure the victim into providing sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information, banking, and credit card details, and passwords.
Cabinet approves Inclusion of families of J&K-1947 who initially opted to move outside J&K
The Union Cabinet has approved Inclusion of 5,300 Displaced Families (DP) families of Jammu & Kashmir-1947 who initially opted to move outside J&K but later on settled in J&K in the Rehabilitation Package approved by the Cabinet in 2016 for Displaced Families PoJK and Chhamb.
- In the wake of the 1947 Pakistani aggression in J&K, over 31,000 families migrated from Pakistan Occupied Areas of J&K (PoJK) to J&K. Of these, approx. 26,000 families settled in J&K and 5300 families initially opted to move out of the J&K to other parts of the country.
- Subsequently, during Indo-Pak Wars of 1965 and 1971, a large number of families were displaced from Chhamb Niabat area of Jammu & Kashmir.
- In 2016, cabinet approved a package to mitigate the hardship of displaced families from PoJK settled in J&K and ChhambNiabat area. However, it did not include families who initially opted to move out of the state of J&K to other parts of the country.
- Now, those 5300 DP families are also being included in the recent package.
- The approval will enable such Displaced Families to become eligible to get one-time financial assistance of Rs 5.5 Lakhs under the existing scheme, and in turn, be able to get some sustained income which the existing scheme is aimed at.
Science & Technology
NASA Slammed a Rocket Body Into the Moon for Science 10 Years Ago Today
Ten years ago (Oct. 9), NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) were reached to the moon to find water.
- The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) was a robotic spacecraft operated by NASA. It was crashed landed in Cabeus Crater of lunar south pole.
- It was launched together with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) in 2009, as part of the shared Lunar Precursor Robotic Program.
- LCROSS found that the Crater on which it was crashed has about 5 % water ice by mass which is twice as wet as Sahara Desert soil. It sparked a new commercial sector to form around extracting water on the moon.
What is NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)?
- The LRO is a robotic spacecraft of NASAcurrently orbiting the Moon.
- Launched in 2009, the primary mission of the LRO is to measure the entire lunar surface to create a high-resolution 3-D mapof the Moon to aid in the planning of future robotic and crewed missions.
- In addition, LRO would map the polar regions and search for the presence of water ice.
Objectives of LRO
- Identify potential lunar resources.
- Gather detailed maps of the lunar surface.
- Collect data on the moon’s radiation levels.
- Study the moons polar regions for resources that could be used in future manned missions or robotic sample return missions.
- Provide measurements to characterize future robotic explorers, human lunar landing sites.
LRO’s technical innovations
- First global thermal mapping of a planetary bodycovering a full range of local times and seasons
- First bi-static radar imaging measurementsfrom Earth to a planetary orbiter
- First use of tissue-equivalent-plastic (TEP)in deep space radiation detectors.
- NASA will launch crewed mission to the south pole for a 2024, the first human mission to the lunar surface since Apollo 17 in 1972.
Key Facts for Prelims
Why Indian Air force Day is celebrated:
Indian Air Force day was officially started on October 8 in 1932 to increase the awareness of Indian air force in any organization of the national security both officially and publicly.
About Indian Air force
- The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932.
- In 1936, Indian Air Force conducted its first mission from Miranshah, in North Waziristan, to support Indian Army operations against insurgent Bhittani tribesmen.
- Problems concerning the defence of India were reassessed in 1939 by the Chatfield Committee. It proposed the re-equipment of RAF (Royal Air Force) squadrons based in lndia but did not make any suggestions for the accelerating slow growth of IAF except for a scheme to raise five flights on a voluntary basis to assist in the defence of the principal ports.