Current Affairs Analysis

24th December 2019 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Kisan Diwas; Chaudhary Charan Singh; Mental disorder; Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALYs); Challenges of Mental health services in India; Financial Action Task Force (FATF); What is blacklist and grey list? Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system; Environment Education Awareness and Training scheme; National Green Corps (NGC) ‘Ecoclub’ programme; What are Detention centres? What are Open Market Operations (OMO)? What is Microdot technology? Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY); What are AT&C Losses? ‘Accelerated Power Development and ReformsProgramme’ (APRDP) programme; What are Microplastics and Macroplastics? Spandana programme; Gfiles awards;
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
December 25, 2019


Government Schemes & Policies

  • An Andhra district uses tech to make police accessible, especially for women

Issues related to Health & Education

  • One in seven Indians affected by a mental disorder: Lancet paper


  • Special OMO: RBI to buy, sell G-Secs worth ₹10,000 crore
  • UDAY scheme loses power, sharp spike in discom losses

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • First Annual Meet of State Nodal Agencies for Ecoclub programme conducted
  • More plastic pollution on Maha beaches than K’taka, Goa: Study

Bilateral & International Relations

  • FATF seeks more information from Islamabad on action against madrassas run by terror outfits
  • Detention centres: All you need to know

Defence & Security Issues

  • Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile successfully flight-tested off Odisha coast

Science & Technology

  • Govt notifies rules for fixation of microdots identifiers on vehicles

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Kisan Diwas

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Government Schemes & Policies

An Andhra district uses tech to make police accessible, especially for women

Prakasam Superintendent of Police has won the seventh G-Files governance award for Spandana project. The district police also introduced Spandana Beyond Borders, through which people of the district living outside the district, state or abroad can interact with the SP through video conferencing and register their complaints.


About Spandana programme  

  • Spandana was launched in July 2019 in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh to make police stations more approachable for the public, especially women.
  • Spandana cetners are located in the premises of all police stations, offices of Inspectors, Deputy SPs and the SP office.


  • It is strenuous as well as expensive to those who live in faraway places to go and meet the Superintendent of police in the district headquarter. With Spandana, they can talk to the SP through video-conferencing in nearest spandana center.
  • Women, in particular, do not like to go to police stations. However, after Spandana centres were established, a woman does not have to go to a police station at all as she can visit Spandana centre to file her complaint.

Reason for success of Spandana

  • Use of technology: As each Spandana centres has video conferencing facility, it is easier and cheaper for people to lodge complaints. They no longer have to travel to the district headquarters to follow up.
  • Special attention to women complainants

About Gfiles awards

  • Gfiles award is an annual award presented to Civil Servants at the national level in India for extraordinary achievements in governance.


  • This award is constituted by GFiles magazine, a national magazine on bureaucracy and governance.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Issues related to Health & Education

One in seven Indians affected by a mental disorder: Lancet paper

One in seven Indians is affected by a mental disorder, says the latest paper published by Indian Council of Medical Research in Lancet Psychiatry, “The burden of mental disorders across the states of India: The Global Burden of Disease Study 1990-2017.”


  • The report study was conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

Highlights of the report

mental disorder

burden of mental disorder across india1

Most prevalent Mental disorders

  • Contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden in India has almost doubled since 1990. In other words, 3 % population of India is having one or the other mental disorder.
  • Depression contributed 33.8% of all mental disorder DALYs in India in 2017, followed by anxiety disorders (19.0%), idiopathic developmental intellectual disability (10.8%), and schizophrenia (9.8%). Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALYs) is the sum of the Years of Life Lost (YLL) due to premature mortality and the Years Lost due to Disability (YLD) for people living with disability. i.e. DALY = YLL + YLD

Regional prevalence of mental disorder

  • Among states that have high socio-demographic index (SDI), Prevalence of depressive disorders were highest in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, and Telangana while in the middle SDI state group, Andhra Pradesh topped the list and Odisha in the low SDI state group.
  • Interestingly, mental health issues that manifest among adults were generally higher in the more developed Southern Indian States than in less developed Northern Indian States.

Gender Mental disorder

  • The prevalence of depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders was significantly higher among females, and the prevalence of conduct disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder was significantly higher among boys.

burden of mental disorder across india

Why depression and anxiety is high in South India?

  • The higher prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in southern States could be related to the higher levels of modernisation and urbanisation in these States and to many other factors that are not yet well understood.

Why depression and anxiety high in South India

  • The study found positive relationship between depression and suicide death rates at the State level, with suicide death rates also being higher in the southern States than in the northern ones.

Initiatives of government

  • India launched the National Mental Health Programme in 1982, which was relaunched in 1996 as the District Mental Health Programme.
  • The National Mental Health Policy was introduced in 2014, and a rights-based Mental Healthcare Act in 2017, which replaced the Mental Healthcare Act of 1987.
  • The child health programme under the National Health Mission and the National Adolescent Health Programme include components to address the mental health of children and adolescents.
  • The Ayushman Bharat initiative launched in 2018 aims to provide comprehensive primary health care and health insurance coverage for non-communicable diseases including mental disorders, which could contribute to reducing the adverse effect of mental disorders at the population level.

Challenges of Mental health services in India

  • Poor implementation of mental health services with a high treatment gap for mental disorders,


  • Poor evidence-based treatment, and gender differentials in treatment.
  • A shortage of mental health personnel, with two mental health workers per 100000 populations.
  • Discriminatory attitude of health workers towards people with mental illness
  • Demand-side barriers such as low perceived need for care, paucity of knowledge of mental disorders, and stigma attached to mental disorders


  • Community-level mental health care and integration of mental health services with other aspects of health care should receive high priority from State governments to improve mental health promotion and care.
  • Community-based programmes have the potential to reduce the treatment gap for mental disorders in India.
  • School-based mental health programmes can help improve mental health in children. Yoga, a traditional Indian practice, is also suggested to be potentially beneficial for depressive disorders.
  • Task-sharing with non-specialists and appropriate training of community health workers can improve mental health service provision.
  • Telemedicine to provide mental health services in remote and inaccessible areas, internet-based and telephone-based helplines, and mental health mobile apps can reduce the burden on existing mental health services
[Ref: The Hindu]



Special OMO: RBI to buy, sell G-Secs worth ₹10,000 crore

In a surprising move, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to simultaneously go for purchase and sale of government securities under a special Open Market Operation (OMO) for ₹10,000 crore. Usually, RBI either conducts OMO sales (to remove excess liquidity in the financial system) or OMO purchase (to infuse liquidity) in a single day.

RBI to buy, sell G-Secs worth ₹10,000 crore

What are Open Market Operations (OMO)?

  • The RBI manages and controls the liquidity, rupee strength and monetary management through purchase and sale of government securities (G-Secs) in a monetary tool called Open Market Operations.


  • OMO is one of the tools that RBI uses to smoothen the liquidity conditions through the year and minimise its impact on the interest rate and inflation rate levels.
  • When RBI wants to cut down the flow of money with banks, it sells G-secs to the banks, sucking the excess money with them. On the other hand, if it wants to inject money in the system, it buys back the g-secs from the banks, increasing the credit supply with the banks. This way, RBI effectively manages the liquidity in the system.
[Ref: The Hindu, Financial Express]


UDAY scheme loses power, sharp spike in discom losses

Four years after it was launched, UDAY —to revive electricity distribution companies (discoms) — is unravelling. Currently, a new scheme is now being readied as a kind of replacement for UDAY.

UDAY scheme loses power, sharp spike in discom losses

UDAY scheme

  • Ministry of Power launched Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in 2015.
  • It is aimed at bringing ailing power distribution companies (discoms) to a state of operational efficiency, with state governments taking over up to 75% of their respective discoms’ debt and issuing sovereign bonds to pay back the lenders.
  • In return, discoms were given target dates (2017-19) to meet efficiency parameters like reduction in power lost through transmission, theft and faulty metering.

UDAY scheme 2019

UDAY scheme 2019 1

Need for UDAY Scheme

For many decades, State discoms have been supplying electricity at tariffs that are far below cost. However, with rising costs and Inefficiencies in power distribution such as large transmission and distribution losses on power strained the finances of the discoms, who have been borrowing heavily from banks to keep themselves running. To overcome this difficulty, state government took over three-fourths of the debt of their respective discoms under UDAY scheme.

Current situation of UDAY scheme

Current situation of UDAY scheme

  • Discom losses, which was reduced in the first couple of years since 2015, have again increased in 2019.
  • Discoms have also missed the 2019 UDAY target to bring down their aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses to 15 %. Discoms are also lagging behind in eliminating the gap between the average cost of supply and realisable revenue (ACS-ARR gap).
  • However, Of the 28 states that implemented UDAY, 10 have shown either reduced losses or profits in 2019.

Reason for failure of UDAY scheme

  • The primary reason for failure is the failure of discoms to collect the full cost that they pay for power.
  • Increase in Outstanding dues of discoms towards power purchases. There is delay in payment of bills (by private sector and public sector) resulting in distress of discoms.
  • Moreover, UDAY scheme tried to achieve (certain targets) in the short term by providing some financial package. However, in order to sustain that improvement, one has to decrease AT&C losses, and increase billing and collection efficiencies.
  • Given that the coupon rate on UDAY bonds are higher over those on SDL (state development loans) bonds, the cost of debt servicing has gone up for the UDAY states.

What are AT&C Losses?

The concept of Aggregate Technical & Commercial losses provides a realistic picture of loss situation. It is combination of energy loss (Technical loss + Theft + inefficiency in billing) & commercial loss (Default in payment + inefficiency in collection).


Earlier efforts

  • In 2001, the government launched the ‘Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme’ (APRDP) programme to bring down the AT&C losses of discoms by providing them grants to upgrade their transmission infrastructure, which the discoms were unable to subsequently use due to several reasons.
  • Again in 2008, the government relaunched it as Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP).
[Ref: Indian Express]


Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management 

First Annual Meet of State Nodal Agencies for Ecoclub programme conducted

In a first, Annual Meet of the State Nodal Agencies implementing the National Green Corps ‘Ecoclub’ programme of the Ministry of the Environment, organized by the Ministry’s Environment Education Division, in collaboration with the GEER Foundation, Gujarat was held in Kevadia, Gujarat.

First Annual Meet of State Nodal Agencies for Ecoclub programme conducted 1

About Environment Education Awareness and Training scheme

  • Environment Education Awareness and Training (EEAT) is an established central sector scheme of the Ministry since 1983-84 to promote environmental awareness and mobilize student’s participation for environment conservation.


  • Under the scheme, National Green Corps (NGC) ‘Ecoclub’ programme was initiated in 2001-2002 to impart knowledge to school children through hands on experience, about their immediate environment, interactions within it and the problems therein.
  • The Ecoclub is being operated through 50-60 students having interest in environment related issues, formed in member schools.

 [Ref: PIB]


More plastic pollution on Maha beaches than K’taka, Goa: Study

Beaches in Maharashtra are more polluted with microplastics and macroplastics than those in Goa and Karnataka, according to a study conducted by Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).


  • The researchers conducted the assessment of macro and microplastic contamination for two years on 10 beaches along the western coast of India.

Highlights of the study

  • The highest abundance of macro and microplastic contaminants is found on beaches in Maharashtra as compared to Karnataka and Goa.
  • The study has blamed plastic industries located near the shore and increased tourism activities for the pollution.

Microplastics and Macroplastics

Microplastics and Macroplastics

  • Plastics less than 5 millimeters in length are called ‘microplastics’ and the relatively larger particles, of more than 5 mm, are classified as ‘macroplastics’.
  • On the basis of origin, microplastics are categorized in two types: primary and secondary microplastics.
  • Primary microplastics are micro-sized synthetic polymers used in chemical formulations, manufacturing of synthetic clothes etc. Secondary microplastics are the fragmented product of macro plastics and mostly generated under the effect of various environmental processes such as biodegradation.
[Ref: Business Standard]


Bilateral & International Relations 

FATF seeks more information from Islamabad on action against madrassas run by terror outfits

FATF has sought more clarifications from Pakistan on actions taken against madrassas belonging to proscribed outfits. This follows after Islamabad submitted a report to it detailing steps taken by the government to curb terrorism and money laundering.


What is the issue?

What is the issue pak

  • Pakistan was placed on the Grey List by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action having 27 points to comply by October 2019, or face the risk of being placed on the black list with Iran and North Korea. However, FATF has extended deadline till February 2020.
  • Pakistan recently submitted a report comprising answers to 22 questions (out of 27). In response, FATF sent 150 questions to Pakistan, seeking some clarifications on madrassas (schools) belonging to the banned outfits.

About Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

  • FATF is an inter‐governmental policy making body with ministerial mandate to establish international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.


  • It was created in 1989 at the behest of the G7, and is headquartered at
  • The FATF’s decision making body, the FATF Plenary, meets three times per year.
  • It does not address at all issues related to low tax jurisdiction or tax competition.
  • The FATF is a policy-making body and has no investigative authority.


  • The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.
  • In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.


  • A large number of international organizations participate in the FATF as observers, each of which has some involvement in anti-money laundering activities.
  • Organizations such as Interpol, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and World Bankare observers.

What is blacklist and grey list?

  • The FATF identifies countries with weak measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/CFT) in two FATF public documents that are issued three times a year: Grey list and Black list.
  • Those that have deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering /Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CTF) regimes, but they commit to an action plan to address these loopholes are put in grey list and those that do not end up doing enough are put in black list.
  • Once a country is blacklisted, FATF calls on other countries to apply enhanced counter measures and increasing the cost of doing business with the country.

What is blacklist and grey list

Key Facts

  • Although the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a full Member of the FATF, the individual Member countries of the GCC (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) are not members of FATF.
[Ref: Newsonair, Indian Express]


Detention centres: All you need to know

The issue of detention centres has come into focus amid talks of a nation-wide NRC, especially after the process in Assam identified a little over 19 lakh people without proper citizenship documents in the state.


What are Detention centres?

  • Detention centres are places designated to keep illegal migrants (people who have entered a country without necessary documents) once they are detected by the authorities till the time their nationality is confirmed and they are deported to the country of their origin.
  • In India, there are six detention centres in Assam in various six districts. These centres were set up in Assam after the Union government authorized the state to do so under the provisions of the Foreigners’ Act, 1946 and Foreigners Order, 1948.
[Ref: Times of India]


Defence & Security Issues

Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile successfully flight-tested off Odisha coast

Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system developed by DRDO was successfully flight-tested from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the Odisha coast.


  • With this mission, the developmental trials of QRSAM are successfully completed and the QRSAM is expected to be ready for induction by 2021.

Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile successfully flight-tested off Odisha coast 1

Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM):

  • The QRSAM was jointly developed by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Limited.


  • It is being developed for the Indian Army with ‘search and track on move’ capability with very short reaction time.

Features of QRSAM

  • Truck-mounted missile
  • Uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 25-30 km.
  • Has electronic counter measures against jamming by aircraft radars.
  • Capable of engaging multiple targets.
  • Equipped with indigenously developed phased array radar, Inertial Navigation System, Data Link and RF (Radio Frequency) seeker.
  • Can be used as an anti-sea skimmer from a ship against low flying attacking missiles.
  • 3 times lighter than Akash Missile (medium range mobile surface-to-air missile)

Air Defence Systems comes in following categories

  • Quick reaction Range Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM)
  • Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM)
  • Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM)
  • Long Range SAM (LRSAM)
[Ref: PIB, India Today]


Science & Technology

Govt notifies rules for fixation of microdots identifiers on vehicles

The government has notified rules for fixation of microdots identifiers on motor vehicles and their parts.

Govt notifies rules for fixation of microdots identifiers on vehicles 1

What is Microdot technology?

is Microdot technology

  • Microdot technology involves spraying the body and parts of a vehicle or any other machine with invisible microscopic dots, which give a unique identification.
  • The microdots and adhesive will become permanent fixtures which cannot be removed without damaging the asset/vehicle.


  • Use of this technology will help check theft of vehicles and also check use of fake spare parts.
[Ref: Newsonair]


Key Facts for Prelims

Kisan Diwas

The ‘Kisan Diwas’ (National Farmers Day) is observed across the country on 23 December to celebrate the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh,

kishan divas 3

About Chaudhary Charan Singh

  • He was the fifth Prime Minister of India (July 1979 to January 1980).
  • He followed Mahatma Gandhi in non-violent struggle for independence from the British Government, and was imprisoned several times.
  • After becoming the Revenue Minister of state of Uttar Pradesh, he was dedicated to implementing the provisions of the Zamindari Abolition and Land Reform Act of which he was the major architect.
  • He also worked tirelessly for the empowerment of the marginalised. He opposed Nehru on his Soviet Style Economic reform. He was of the opinion that cooperative farms would not succeed in India.
  • He was the author of books such as ‘Abolition of Zamindari’, ‘Co-operative Farming X-rayed’, ‘India’s Poverty and its Solution’, ‘Peasant Proprietorship or Land to the Workers’ etc.
[Ref: Indian Express]


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