Any attempt by an institution to withhold information from its stakeholders should invite strict censure. Do you agree?

No, I do not completely agree. There may be situations where information would
need to be withheld for larger public interest. Such circumstances can arise when the matter concerns:

i. Preserving national security e.g. it would be wrong for the media to relay live
coverage of a terror attack while the operation is still in progress, as happened in Mumbai in 2008.
ii. Matters that are sensitive in the socio-political context and likely to arouse
negative public sentiment e.g. if a political leader is assassinated by a person
from a different religion, disclosing the assassin’s religion could lead to communal
violence.
iii. Protecting the privacy of an individual e.g. the personal details of a rape victim.
iv. Policies and programs that are still under consideration e.g. the master plan for an upcoming project which is likely to lead to a spurt in land prices.
v. Privileged and sensitive information that few people have access to e.g. writing a
book that chronicles the private functioning and inter-personal relations of a highranking functionary.
vi. Privileged information that is confidential and can be misused for speculative gains e.g. Insider trading.

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Biofilms

Biofilms:

  • A biofilm is an assemblage of microbial cells that is irreversibly associated (not removed by gentle rinsing) with a surface and enclosed in a matrix of primarily polysaccharide material.
  • Van Leeuwenhoek, using his simple microscopes, first observed microorganisms on tooth surfaces and can be credited with the discovery of microbial biofilms.
  • Microorganisms that form biofilms include bacteria, fungi and protists.
  • Noncellular materials such as mineral crystals, corrosion particles, clay or silt particles, or blood components, depending on the environment in which the biofilm has developed, may also be found in the biofilm matrix.

Can form on many types of surfaces:

  • Biofilms may form on a wide variety of surfaces, including living tissues, indwelling medical devices (devices in the body like catheters, heart valves), industrial or potable water system piping, or natural aquatic systems.
  • As they attach to each other and to the surfaces, they are capable to act as barriers to antibiotics.

Biofilms Formation:

  • Biofilm formation begins when free-floating microorganisms such as bacteria come in contact with an appropriate surface and begin to put down roots.
  • This first step of attachment occurs when the microorganisms produce a gooey substance known as an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS).
  • An EPS is a network of sugars, proteins and nucleic acids (such as DNA).
  • It enables the microorganisms in a biofilm to stick together.
  • Attachment is followed by a period of growth.
  • Further layers of microorganisms and EPS build upon the first layers.

About the Direct Benefit Transfer

  • The program aims to transfer subsidies directly to the people through their bank accounts.
  • Crediting subsidies directly into bank accounts help reduce leakages, delays, etc.
  • DBT has now extended to most of the government schemes.

DBT has two components:

  • Subsidy: When a government meets a part of the cost of providing a good or service to a beneficiary.
  • Income transfer: When a government provides income support to a beneficiary.
  • This is a pure transfer payment unrelated to the cost of providing any good or service.

Pros and Cons of DBT

Positives:

  • Better targeting of the beneficiary: In case of physical delivery of subsided products there are numerous reports of leakages, diversion of supplies, black marketing etc.
  • By the use of DBT there is an assured transfer of the subsidy to the beneficiary.
  • Also the problems like product adulteration, delay in supplies are eliminated.
  • There is no need to have an elaborate administrative apparatus maintained at huge cost to manage the rationing of subsidized commodities.
  • DBT brings in transparency and efficiency, and enables beneficiaries to get their entitlements directly to them without any delay.
  • Direct transfer increases the circulation of money that will help in increasing the demand in the economy. Thus, keeping the growth cycle viable.

Negatives:

  • DBT is dependent on the banking system, which is backbone of the system.
  • Hence, anyone without a bank account will not be able to avail subsidies.
  •  In India, we still have the rural pockets where bank facilities has not reached yet.
  • Now, the government in its move to provide universal financial inclusion is taking the initiative to provide each household with at least one bank account under Jan Dhan Yojna. Linking of the two systems i.e. DBT and financial inclusion is now actively pursued.

Related Scheme:

PAHAL (PratyakshHanstantritLabh):

  • The Direct Benefit transfer of LPG (DBTL) scheme is PAHAL.
  • Consumers who wish to join the scheme will have to either link their Aadhaar number into their bank account.
  • DBTL is designed to ensure that the benefit meant for the genuine domestic customer reaches them directly and is not diverted.

CITES ( Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

  • CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
  • It is an international agreement to which States (countries) adhere voluntarily. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws. Rather it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.

Everything about CORAL BLEACHING:

CORAL BLEACHING:

  • Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.
  • When water is too warm, corals will expel the algae (zooxanthellae) living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. This is called coral bleaching.
  • Algae are vital to the coral. Corals use the organic products of photosynthesis produced by algae to help it grow.
  • The loss of algae makes the host vulnerable to disease and means it will eventually die.
  • However, coral can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to re-colonise them.
  • When a coral bleaches, it is not dead. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but if they are subject to more stress, they can eventually die.

CAUSES:

  • Environmentalists blame the burning of fossil fuels for global warming.
  • Farm run-off which is rich in fertilizers and other chemicals.
  • Development activities.
  •  The coral-eating starfish
  • Disease outbreaks

 The Need To Preserve Corals:

  • To protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms
  • To provide habitats and shelter for many marine organisms
  • Corals are the source of nitrogen and other essential nutrients for marine food chains
  • They assist in carbon and nitrogen fixing
  • They also help with nutrient recycling.
  • The fishing industry depends on coral reefs because many fish spawn there and juvenile fish spend time there before making their way to the open sea
  • The Great Barrier Reef are also important for the economy and tourism.
  • The study of coral reefs is important for providing a clear, scientifically-testable record of climatic events over the past million years or so. This includes records of recent major storms and human impacts that are recorded by the changes in coral growth patterns.

Market Stabilization Bond

  • MSS bonds bear an interest rate that can boost banks’ income. This incentivizes banks to participate effectively in demonetization drive.
  • MSS as SLR bonds: MSS bonds can also be used to calculate banks’ mandatory bond holding.
  • MSS bonds does not increase Government’s fiscal deficit.
  • According to CRISIL, the stock of G-secs with the RBI, necessary to conduct reverse repo operations, is limited. So MSS is needed.

NABARD

NABARD:

It is an apex development and specialized bank established on 12 July 1982 by an act by the parliament of India. Its main focus is to uplift rural India by increasing the credit flow for elevation of agriculture & rural non farm sector.

  • It was established based on the recommendations of the Committee set up by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the chairmanship of Shri B. sivaraman.
  • It replaced the Agricultural Credit Department (ACD) and Rural Planning and Credit Cell (RPCC) of Reserve Bank of India, and Agricultural Refinance and Development Corporation (ARDC).
  • It has been accredited with “matters concerning policy, planning and operations in the field of credit for agriculture and other economic activities in rural areas in India”.
  • NABARD is active in developing financial inclusion policy and is a member of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion.

Important functions:

It Serves as an apex financing agency for the institutions providing investment and production credit for promoting the various developmental activities in rural areas.

  • It takes measures towards institution building for improving absorptive capacity of the credit delivery system, including monitoring, formulation of rehabilitation schemes, restructuring of credit institutions, training of personnel, etc.
  • It regulates the cooperative banks and the RRB’s, and manages talent acquisition through IBPS CWE.
  • NABARD is also known for its ‘SHG Bank Linkage Programme’ which encourages India’s banks to lend to SHGs.