Daily Current Affairs for 9th September 2020

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NSO report shows stark digital divide affects education


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?
A recent report on the latest National Statistical Organisation (NSO) survey shows stark difference in digital/online penetration of classes i.e.  the digital divide across States, cities and villages, and income groups. The survey on household social consumption related to education was part of the NSO’s 75th round, conducted from July 2017 to June 2018.

Key Details:

  • Across India, only one in ten households have a computer, whether a desktop, laptop or tablet.
  • The Internet-enabled homes are located in cities, where 42% have Internet access.
  • In rural India, only 15% are connected to the internet.
  • Delhi has the highest Internet access, with 55% of homes having such facilities.
  • Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are the only other States where more than half of all households have Internet.
  • The biggest divide is by economic status, which the NSO marks by dividing the population into five equal groups, or quintiles, based on their usual monthly per capita expenditure.

What is Digital Divide?

  • Digital divide or the digital split is a term that refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don’t or have restricted access.
  • These technologies are a smartphone, television, personal computers, and the internet.

What are its implications?

  • The massive digital divide gap in education means that it is a great hindrance to the development of the underdeveloped areas.
  • The people living in underdeveloped areas are not capable of inventing new technologies and conducting researches aimed at promoting the living standards of the populations.
  • The digital split not only impacts the future of young minds but also reduces the chance of having a great career.
  • students from different backgrounds, geographies, communities, lose their chance to develop innovative solutions and be responsible citizens.

Right to Internet access:

  • In Faheema Shirin v. the State of Kerala case, the high court declared the right to Internet access as a fundamental right forming a part of the right to privacy and the right to education under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • UN, in 2016, made a series of statements collectively describing that internet access as a basic human right.

Steps Taken by GOI:

The various initiatives are as under:

  1. ‘National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology’ (NMEICT) to leverage the potential of ICT to make the best quality content accessible to all learners in the country, free of cost. Following are sub-components of this program:
  2. SWAYAM: The ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) is an integrated platform for offering online courses and covering school (9thto 12th) to Post Graduate Level.
  3. SWAYAM Prabha: SWAYAM Prabha is an initiative to provide 32 High Quality Educational Channels through DTH (Direct to Home) across the length and breadth of the country on 24X7 basis.
  • National Digital Library (NDL): The National Digital Library of India (NDL) is a project to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility.
  1. Spoken Tutorial:They are 10-minute long, audio-video tutorial, on open source software, to improve employment potential of students.
  2. Free and Open Source Software for Education (FOSSEE): FOSSEE is a project promoting the use of open source software in educational institutions.
  3. In pursuit of digital inclusion, Government has launched, the Bharat Net programme, which aims to have an optical fibre network in all gram panchayats.

40% of children are not fully vaccinated, says NSO report


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?

‘Health in India’ report has been published by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO), The report is based on the 75th round of the National Sample Survey (July 2017-June 2018) on household social consumption related to health.

Key details:

  • Across the country, only 59.2% of children under five years are fully immunised.
  • It points out that although almost all children in India are vaccinated against tuberculosis, and receive their birth dose of the polio vaccine, two out of five children do not complete their immunisation programme.
  • Most of these children remain unprotected against measles, and partially protected against a range of other diseases.
  • About 97% of children across the country received at least one vaccination — mostly BCG and/or the first dose of OPV at birth. This remains steady across income groups and geographies.
  • Only 67% of children are protected against measles.
  • Full immunisation means that a child receives eight vaccine doses in the first year of life.
  • Among the states, Manipur (75%), Andhra Pradesh (73.6%) and Mizoram (73.4%) recorded the highest rates of full immunisation.
  • Nagaland, where only 12% of children received all vaccinations, followed by Puducherry (34%) and Tripura (39.6%).

Vaccination Programmes in India

Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)

  • Universal Immunisation Programme(UIP) is a vaccination program launched by the Government of India in 1985.
  • It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992 and is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission since 2005.

The program now consists of vaccination for 12 diseases- tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, hepatitis B, diarrhea, Japanese encephalitis, rubella, pneumonia (Hemophilus influenzae type B) and Pneumococcal diseases (pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis). Hepatitis B and Pneumococcal diseases was added to the UIP in 2007 and 2017 respectively.

Mission Indradhanush

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India on December 25, 2014.
  • The Mission Indradhanush aims to cover all those children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases.
  • It provides vaccination against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) i.e. diphtheria, Whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia, Hemophilus influenza type B infections, Japanese encephalitis (JE), rotavirus vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and measles-rubella (MR).

Mission Indradhanush 2.0:

  • The government’s flagship scheme is aimed at immunizing children under the age of 2 years and pregnant women.

  • The immunisation drive covers vaccines for tuberculosis, meningitis, measles, Hepatitis B, tetanus, whooping cough, poliomyelitis and diphtheria. The vaccines for two other diseases- Hemophilus influenza and Japanese encephalitis will also be provided under the programme in certain selected areas.
  • The program aims to escalate efforts to achieve the goal of attaining 90% national immunization coverage across India.

Global Vaccine Summit

  • The Summit was intended to urge nations around the world to pledge funding for vaccinations to protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

India’s Contribution:

  • India has pledged USD 15-million as India’s contribution to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).
  • India had also mentioned that it has shared its stocks of medicines with over 120 countries in the wake of the pandemic.

Nutrition guidelines soon: Irani


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

The long-pending nutrition guidelines for the country are likely to be made public soon.

Key Details:

  • The guidelines are likely to prescribe healthy diet for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of six months to six years, who receive ration and hot cooked meals at anganwadis under the government’s supplementary nutrition programme.
  • The nutrition norms are expected to also suggest ways to source the food distributed at anganwadis and what caloric content these should have.
  • These may also suggest nutrition intake for children who are severe acute malnourished.
  • The guidelines would be sensitive to the issue of coexistence of obesity and undernutrition, which is also known as the double burden of malnutrition.

Why Nutrition Guidelines is important?

  • The Global Hunger Index, reported that India suffers from “serious” hunger, ranked 102 out of 117 countries,
  • Just a tenth of children between six to 23 months are fed a minimum acceptable diet.
  • The urgency around nutrition was reflected in the Budget speech, as it was referred that “unprecedented” scale of developments under the Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition, or POSHAN Abhiyaan, the National Nutrition Mission with efforts to track the status of 10 crore households.

Various programmes:

  • There are multiple dimensions of malnutrition that include calorific deficiency, protein hunger and micronutrient deficiency.
  • The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme provides a package of services including supplementary nutrition, nutrition and health education, health check-ups and referral services addressing children, pregnant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls, key groups to address community malnutrition, and which also tackle calorific deficiency and beyond.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme, to enhance nutrition of schoolchildren.
  • National Nutrition Mission, it is Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

  1. It was launched by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018.
  2. Implemented By: Ministry of Women and Child Development
  • To reduce stunting, underweight, and low birth weight, each by 2% per year; and anaemia among young children, adolescents and women each by 3% per year until 2022.
  1. The minimum target to reduce stunting is 2% every year, but the mission will strive to bring it down from 38.4% in 2016 to 25% by 2022.

Telangana seeks Bharat Ratna for former PM Narasimha Rao


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in news?

Telangana government requested the Central government to confer Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award of the country, posthumously on former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao for his contributions to the country.

Former PM Narsimha Rao

  • V Narsimha Rao was a freedom fighter, academician, and literary figure.

  • He was also the 9th Prime Minister of India from 1991 to 1996.
  • Economic Reforms: He sought to dismantle the restrictions imposed under the license raj, reduce red tape and make Indian industries more competitive.
  • He is known for bringing the policy of economic liberalisation in India.
  • It was initiated in 1991 with the goal of making the economy more market- and service-oriented, and expanding the role of private and foreign investment.
  • Foreign Policy:
  1. In terms of foreign policy, he established diplomatic relations with Israel.
  2. The Look East Policy of India was also initiated during his tenure.
  3. He is also known for reversing decades of unfriendly relations between India and the United States by bringing them together.
  • Constitutional Reforms: The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments Act empowering local bodies were enacted during his tenure.

 Bharat Ratna Award

  • The Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India), instituted in 1954 is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India.
  • It is awarded in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order in any field of human endeavour.
  • The recommendations for the Bharat Ratna are made by the Prime Minister to the President with a maximum of three nominees being awarded per year.
  • Recipients receive a Sanad (certificate) signed by the President and a peepal-leaf–Shaped medallion; there is no monetary grant associated with the award.
  • Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence.

Global economy to contract 4.4%, China to grow at 2.7% in 2020: Fitch


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News?

Fitch Ratings projected global GDP to contract 4.4 per cent in the current year but revised upwards China’s growth estimate to 2.7 per cent for 2020.

Key Details:

  • In its report, Global Economic Outlook (GEO), Fitch Ratings cut its 2020 GDP forecast for emerging markets, excluding China, to (-)5.7 per cent, from (-)4.7 per cent estimated in June, mainly on account of a huge downward revision to India GDP forecast for the financial year ending March 2021.
  • Fitch has slashed India’s growth projection to (-)10.5 per cent from (-)5 per cent.
  • India imposed one of the most stringent lockdowns worldwide in 2Q20 (April-June) and domestic demand fell massively.
  • Limited fiscal support, fragilities in the financial system, and a continued rise in virus cases hamper a rapid normalisation in activity.

Credit rating agency

  • credit rating agencyis a company that assigns credit ratings, which rate a debtor’s ability to pay back debt by making timely principal and interest payments and the likelihood of default.
  • An agency may rate the creditworthiness of issuers of debt obligations, of debt instruments, and in some cases, of the servicers of the underlying debt, but not of individual consumers.
  • The debt instruments rated by CRAs include government bonds, corporate bonds, CDs, municipal bonds, preferred stock, and collateralized securities, such as mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations.
  • Fitch Ratings Inc.is an American credit rating agency and is one of the “Big Three credit rating agencies”,  the other two being Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.

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