IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th June, 2019

Report on healthy states, progressive India: Report on rank of states and UTs

News important for:  GS paper 2 I Health sector, functions and responsibility of union and states.


The NITI Aayog report highlights the health condition of states based on 23 indicators including neonatal mortality rate, under 5 mortality rates, proportion of low birth weight among new born etc.




Analysis of the report

  • The report divides the state into 3 categories –larger states, smaller states and UTs to ensure comparison among similar entities.

The report has included 21 states

  • Kerala tops the list for the best performing state in the health sector.
  • Among UTs Chandigarh tops the list followed by Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
  • Uttar Pradesh remains the worst performing state in the health sector.
  • The report stated that only about half a state has shown improvement in the overall score between 2015-16(base year) and 2017-18(reference year).

The report added that among the eight empowered Action Group States, only three States- Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh- showed improvement in overall performance.

Way forward

  • Health is a state subject and the poor performance of states in the report shows the condition of health sector in the states which needs to be dealt strictly.
  • Its fundamental importance to citizens’ lives and in elasticity of demand warrants that government must play a role.


  • Health care is a tricky issue, subjects to a number of ethical considerations and constraints.

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Changing U.S. India relations

 News important for:  GS paper 2 I International relations, India and its neighbourhood, policies affecting India’s interest.


Change and turnings expected in India-U.S. relations ahead U.S. secretary of state visit to India.




  • Ahead of Pompeo visit issues such as, Waiver for U.S. sanctions on $5.4 billion Russian S-400 Triumf anti-missile deal.
  • Till date no MoUs or agreements are expected to be announced, although negotiations on two important agreements, the Industrial Security Annexe and the Geo-spatial cooperation agreement BECA have made considerable progress.
  • While strategic relations and people-to-people ties are on the agenda during the main talks, trade issues between the two countries are expected to take centre stage.
  • U.S.’s objections to the purchase of the S-400, its sanctions on Indian imports of oil from Iran and Venezuela as well as India must not allow Chinese telecom major Huawei to participate in 5G network trials are likely to come up for discussion.

India – U.S. relations highlights

  • The US has withdrawn preferential tariffs to Indian exports. The step was taken on determining that India has not committed to provide “equitable and reasonable access to its market” for the U.S.
  • United States, it has removed India and Switzerland from the currency monitoring lists. The US has retained other countries like China, Japan and Germany.
  • India attempts to reduce its trade surplus of over $20 billion with US.
  • India is buying S-400 system from Russia that might invite sanctions under CAATSA from U.S.
  • United States has designated India as Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) country that will allow country to buy highly advanced and cutting-edge sensitive technologies from America.  


India is looking forward to greet U.S. secretary and take forward the ongoing issues to restore the ties with a positive attitude.

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31.4% of Indian children will be stunted by 2022: Report

News important for:  GS paper 2 I Health sector, functions and responsibility of union and states


 A report by UN World Food Programming and Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation highlights that almost one in three children under 5 years will still be stunted by 2022.

More about the report

  • Over the last decade, child stunting — which is a measure of chronic malnutrition — has reduced at a rate of about 1% per year, the slowest decline among emerging economies.
  • At this rate, 31.4% of children will still be stunted by the 2022 deadline.
  • India must double its rate of progress to reach the target of 25% by that time, says the report.
  • The report is a baseline analysis of the country’s progress in achieving the second Sustainable Development Goal to end hunger. 
  • Food grain yields have risen 33% over the last two decades, but are still only half of 2030 target yields, says the report.
  • The Indian farmer is producing more food grains than ever before, making the country self-sufficient in this regard.
  • Unfortunately, the consumer’s access to rice, wheat and other cereals has not increased at the same rate, due to population growth, inequality, food wastage and losses, and exports.
  • As a result, the average per capita consumption of energy among the poorest 30% of the population is 1811 kilo calories, much lower than the norm of 2155 kilo calories per day.
  • The signs of unequal access are starkest among children.
  • In States like Bihar (48%) and Uttar Pradesh (46%), almost one in two children are stunted, while it is only one in five children in Kerala and Goa (20% each).
  • There are high rates of stunting among children in the poorest wealth quintile (51.4%), Scheduled Tribes (43.6%) and Scheduled Castes (42.5%), and children born to mothers with no education (51%).

Way Forward

  • India must focus on proper policy implementation and execution of schemes.
  • The effort should be to double the effort to achieve its goal of reducing the no of stunted children to 25% from 31.4% as estimated by the report.

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Australia caution illegal migrants

News important for:  GS paper 2 I International relations, India and its neighbourhood, policies affecting India’s interest.

Context: The Australian government launched a campaign ‘Zero Chance’ to raise awareness among people trying to enter the country illegally by boats.


  • There will be zero tolerance towards people smugglers who tend to lie about international immigration policies referring to the change in immigration policies in their countries regarding recent elections.
  • “The message of Zero Chance is that if anyone tries to come illegally to Australia by boat has zero chance of success to enter the country.
  • Australia has so far turned back 847 people on 35 vessels trying to enter Australia illegally, as part of the Operation Sovereign Borders that has been implemented since 2013.
  • The campaign will be undertaken through NGOs in India that have some partnerships with Australia to educate people on not taking up these illegal and dangerous boat journeys.

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Joint effort to conserve wildlife at Bandipur

 News important for:  GS paper 3 I environment conservation, biodiversity, and environment


An inter-State meeting in Karnataka recently decided to make concerted effort to conserve wildlife in the region.


  • The meeting was convened by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) regional zone, Bangaluru.
  • The  issues, including the invasion of invasive plants in the forest areas, steps being adopted by the authorities to vulture conservation, movement of radio collared higher mammals such as tiger and elephants and various measures to be adopted to mitigate man-animal conflict in the region took place.
  • The meeting decided to intensify joint efforts to eradicate invasive plants such as Senna Spectabilis which caused major threat to the wildlife habitat in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
  • The meeting decided to ensure inter-State coordination in conserving the endangered vulture population in the region.
  • Joint conservation measures with public participation would be executed to mitigate increasing human-wildlife conflict on the forest fringes of the region.
  • Information regarding radio collared animals and their movements would be exchanged among the department staff.
  • Joint actions would be taken to douse forest fire and information on such incidents would be handed over to the officials in the adjacent sanctuaries and tiger reserves.
  • Information on accused in forest cases would also be exchanged each other to avert wildlife-related crimes.

Way forward

In the times when animal habitat is endangered due to environmental degradation and man animal conflict a joint effort of governments of states and centre can prove fruitful in conserving the biodiversity of the subcontinent.

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‘Impressive’ tortoise discovered in Arunachal pradesh

News important for:  GS paper 3 I Environment conservation and biodiversity


A team of herpetologists from the Forest Department found the Impressed Tortoise inn Arunachal Pradesh.




About the Impressive tortoise

  • This is the first record of the tortoise in India, taking the count to five and the non-marine chelonian count to 29.
  • Chelonian is an order of reptile that includes turtles, terrapins and tortoises.
  • There are only two species of tortoises under the Manouria genus.
  • India was known to be the home of only the Asian Forest Tortoise (Manouria emys) until the discovery of the Impressed Tortoise.
  • The Asian Forest Tortoise the largest in mainland Asia is found only in the northeast.
  • The male Impressed Tortoise is smaller than the female which is 30 cm in length.

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Disability pension for military personnel to be taxed unless invalidated from service

News important for:  GS paper 2 I Governance and issues related to governance and welfare schemes.


As per the notification issued by the Finance Ministry the disability pension for military personnel who retired normally from service and not invalidated will now be taxed.


  • According to The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) “such tax exemption will be available only to armed forces personnel.
  • The personal who have been invalidated from service on account of bodily disability attributable to or aggravated by such service and not to personnel who have been retired on superannuation or otherwise.
  • The Disability pension is of two types, war and normal. War disability is 60% of the last salary drawn in case of 100% disability and normal disability is 30% of the last salary drawn in case of 100% disability.
  • Disability pension for armed forces is available based on a 1922 notification.
  • Till now both were not being taxed if the disability is decided by a team of doctors.
  • As per procedure, the CBDT will now issue a circular to all the banks for implementation as they are the ones that disburse the pensions.
  • The move has come under criticism from the military fraternity, which has already been missed due to several recent measures seen as lowering their status and equivalence compared to their civilian counterparts.


  • The Disability pension has long been an issue of contention over the rates and different slabs for officers and jawans, among others.
  • There is also a large number litigation filed by veterans against the Defence Ministry over non-recognition of disability.

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The DNA technology(Use and Application) Regulation Bill


News important for:  GS paper 3 I Science and technology



The Cabinet cleared the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill.




  • The Bill seeks to create a regulatory framework for obtaining, storing and testing of DNA samples of human beings, mainly for the purposes of criminal investigations, and with the objective of establishing the identity of a person.
  • DNA testing is already being used for a variety of purposes, such as criminal investigations, establishment of parentage, and search for missing people.
  • The proposed law seeks to bring in a supervisory structure to oversee these practices, and frame guidelines and rules so that the DNA technology is not misused.




Highlights of the bill


The bill proposes to set up two institutional structures — a DNA regulatory board and a DNA data bank — at the national level. 

  • Regional centres of the board as well as the data bank can be set up at the state level as well.
  • The board, which is proposed to be the main regulatory authority, would frame the rules and guidelines for DNA collection, testing and storage, while the data bank would be the repository of all DNA samples collected from various people under specified rules. 
  • The Bill proposes that testing of DNA samples can be carried out only at laboratories that are authorised to do so by the regulatory board. 
  • It also specifies the circumstances under which a person can be asked to submit DNA samples, the purposes for which such requests can be made, and the exact procedure for handling, storing and accessing these samples.


The government, on the other hand, has been arguing that since DNA tests are already happening, and frequently used as the most reliable tool to establish identity.


The text of the Bill has undergone several changes over the years to address some of the concerns on privacy and the possibility of abuse. 


The government has also claimed that very limited information is proposed to be stored in the indices — just 17 sets of numbers out of billions that DNA samples can reveal.


The bill after becoming a law if implemented properly can be a effective step in criminal investigation policies for the country.


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