Flash Card

Day#74 Current Affairs Flash Cards [PRELIMS 2020]

Vanilla Islands; Global Competitiveness Index 2019; Public Financial Management System (PFMS); Article 213 in The Constitution of India; Batten disease;
By IASToppers
October 18, 2019



What is Batten disease?

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Batten disease is a rare group of nervous system disorders that get worse over time. It usually starts in childhood, between the ages of 5 and 10.

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Batten disease:

  • Batten disease, also known as neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCLs), refers to a group of rare inherited neurological conditions that can cause vision loss, progressive motor and cognitive decline, and seizures.
  • The disease is thought to affect about 1 in every 100000 worldwide.
  • It takes its name from the British pediatrician who first described Batten disease in 1903.

Types of Batten disease:

  • Batten disease are classified according to age at the onset of symptoms. A) Childhood Batten disease. B) Adulthood Batten disease.
  • Disease symptoms can be manifest at birth (congenital), or appear during childhood (infantile, late infantile, and juvenile) or adulthood.
  • Childhood forms of Batten are the most common, often appearing between the ages of 5 and 10 as vision problems or epilepsy (seizures) — or simply as problems with learning and general clumsiness.

Causes of Batten disease:

  • Batten disease is a genetic condition most commonly inherited, although there are cases of inheritance in Batten patients whose disease starts in adulthood.
  • Several genetic mutations have been linked to Batten disease. These mutations are toxic to tissues in the body, especially to nerve cells in the brain, eye, as well as in the skin and other tissues.
  • Specifically, the disease is linked to build up of lipofuscins, made up of fats and proteins, in tissues.

Symptoms of Batten disease:

  • The symptoms of Batten disease can differ widely among individuals in terms of their appearance and progression.
  • In forms that develop early in life, symptoms can begin insidiously as subtle behaviour and personality changes, clumsiness, or slow learning.
  • Progressive vision loss, seizures, and loss of motor skills are likely, and these patients often eventually develop Parkinson’s-like movement difficulties, severe dementia. Many become bedridden.
  • People with the adult forms of Batten disease tend to have milder symptoms and a normal life expectancy.



Article 213 in The Constitution of India was recently in news. What is it all about?

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  • Article 213 is about the Legislative Power of the Governor to promulgate Ordinances during absence of Legislature.
  • When the Legislative Assembly of a State or Legislative Council in a State or both Houses of the Legislature are absent in legislature session, the Governor may promulgate ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require.

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Legislative powers of governor under Article 213:

  • He can issue an Ordinance when one or both Houses of the State Legislature are not in session. It has the force of a law.
  • The Governor is authorized to promulgate Ordinance when is satisfied that circumstances. Exist which render it necessary for Ordinance when he is satisfied that circumstances, it necessary for him to take action immediately.
  • However, the Governor is prohibited from promulgating Ordinances that contain provision, which under the Constitution require the previous sanction of the President for introduction in the State Legislature or which are to be reserved for the assent of the President.
  • In such cases, the Governor can promulgate an Ordinance after obtaining permission from the President.
  • An Ordinance issued by the Governor ceases to be in operation six months as is to the ordinance issued by the President. The Governor may withdraw an Ordinance any time before it expires.
  • Ordinances cease to operate either if state legislature does not approve of them within six weeks.



What is the Public Financial Management System (PFMS)?

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PFMS is an electronic fund tracking mechanism compiles, collates and makes available in real-time, information regarding all government schemes.

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Public Financial Management System (PFMS):

  • The PFMS, also known as Central Plan Scheme Monitoring System (CPSMS), tracks fund disbursement and ensures that state treasuries are integrated with the Centre to ensure money is send as and when required.
  • PFMS, administered by the department of expenditure, is an end-to-end solution for processing payments, tracking, monitoring, accounting, reconciliation and reporting. It is a web based application.
  • It provides the government real-time information on resource availability and utilisation across schemes.
  • In addition, the platform will allow government expenditure to adopt a Just-in- Time (JIT) approach, with payments made only when they are needed.
  • The government has set a target to integrate PFMS with all state treasuries in current fiscal and implement Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for welfare and scholarship schemes.

In future, Government aims to transform PFMS to Government-wide Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) as a comprehensive payment, receipt and accounting system.

Public Financial Management System

Significance of the PFMS:

  • The PFMS aims to help in complete tracking and monitoring flow of funds to implementing agencies and ensuring timely transfer of funds.
  • It will help government to ascertain actual status of utilization of funds by multiple implementing agencies of central and the state governments.
  • It will also cut need for paper work and in long way help in monitoring and tracking of any unnecessary parking of funds by implementing agencies, thus minimising cases of delay and pending payments to large extent.
  • It will help to plug leakages in system and help to manage and maintain data that government can use to develop more scientific approach.



Recently term ‘Vanilla Islands’ was appeared in the news. What is it known for?

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The concept of ‘Vanilla Islands’, defined under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission, aims to unify the islands of Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar, La Reunion, Seychelles Maldives and Mayotte, under one tourism brand through the affiliation of each of the islands.

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Vanilla Islands:

  • It is located in South western Indian Ocean.
  • It is an affiliation of the island nations Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion, Mauritius, Comoros, Mayotte in the Indian Ocean to form a new travel destination.
  • Aim of the Vanilla Island that has been founded in 2010 to pool forces and jointly market the region compared to the solely individual marketing of each island in the past.

India and Vanilla Island:

  • It is important to India that want to add another geography for its diplomatic language to the Vanilla Islands.
  • India has to devote greater attention to the Indian Ocean as part of the growing interaction with the island states.
  • India’s activism on countering climate change and promoting blue economy have made the island states special partners for India.
  • As Delhi appreciates the renewed geopolitical significance of the Comoros, along with the other Vanilla Islands, India is expected to lay the foundation for sustained strategic cooperation with the them.
  • To be effective in the south western Indian Ocean India must begin to treat the Vanilla Islands as a single strategic space.

In the colonial era, the Vanilla Islands were very much the object of rivalry among the European powers. With all the sea lines of communication between Europe and the Indian Ocean came round Africa and went through the Mozambique channel. Now the Vanilla islands are become attractive way stations.



Global Competitiveness Index has recently been released by which organisation? a) World Economic Forum OR b) World Bank?

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World Economic Forum

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Global Competitive Index, 2019:

  • Global Competitiveness Index 2019 was released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • The WEF defines global competitiveness as the ability of a country to achieve sustained high rates of growth in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.
  • The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which was launched in 1979, maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 pillars.

Highlights of Global competitiveness index

Global highlights 

Global competitiveness index

Top 3 countries in Global competitiveness index

  1. Singapore
  2. USA
  3. Hong Kong
  • Asia-Pacific is the most competitive region in the world, followed closely by Europe and North America.
  • Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland etc.) are among the world’s most technologically advanced, innovative and dynamic while also providing better living conditions and social protection.
  • China is ranked 28th (the highest ranked among the BRICS) while Vietnam is the most improved country in Asia (67th place).

India specific highlights

  • India has been ranked 68th which is among the worst-performing BRICS nations along with Brazil. In 2018, India was ranked at 58th.
  • However, India is ahead of its neighbours Sri Lanka (84th), Bangladesh (105th), Nepal (108th) and Pakistan (110th).
  • India ranks high in terms of macroeconomic stability and market size, while its financial sector is relatively deep and stable despite the high delinquency rate, which contributes to weakening the soundness of its banking system.
  • In innovation, India is well ahead of most emerging economies and on par with several advanced economies.

Reason for lower rank of India

  • Weak adoption of Information, communication and technology
  • Poor health conditions and low life expectancy
  • Lack of worker rights’ protections,
  • Insufficiently developed active labour market politics
  • Critically low participation of women