It is easier to build a boy than to mend a man. Discuss this statement in the light of selecting an individual for public office. 150 words

The basis of the statement lies in two elements: firstly, that it is possible to
change behavior but very difficult to change attitudes; secondly, that as one ages,attitudes become more rigid and difficult to change. Thus, the earlier we introduce interventions to correct or improve behaviours and attitudes, the greater the chances of a meaningful impact.
With regard to selecting an individual for pubic office, this emphasizes the
importance of the recruitment and training programs. The lower the age at entry, the more the possibility that the interventions will have the desired impact since it becomes easier to training the individual, with minimal resistance.
Similarly, the recruitment policy must ensure that the selected individuals are
genuinely pubic-spirited. This would ensure that their acceptance of the
organizational ethos is greater and attitudinal resistance is minimal.

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H1N1 Flu:

H1N1 Flu:

  • It is a respiratory disease caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1.
  • H1N1 Flu is also known as swine flu.
  • It is called swine flu because in the past the people who caught it had direct contact with pigs.
  • It can be transmitted from one person to another by coughing and sneezing.
  • Its symptoms are similar to those of standard, seasonal flu like fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and chills.
  • The vulnerable groups include pregnant women, children under five, the over-65s and those with serious medical conditions.
  • The virus first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spreaded around the world.
  • In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organisation called it a pandemic.

What makes Maharashtra, particularly vulnerable?

  • Urbanisation and overcrowding: More the number of people, more are the chances of spreading the disease.
  • Good surveillance system: Presence of good surveillance system helps in tracking of all the cases. The increased number of cases is a reflection of good surveillance system.
  • Antigenic shift: It is a process in which two or more strains of a virus combine to form a new subtype. It is observed at regular intervals which is the main reason why there has been a spurt in the cases.
  • Failure to detect on time: The symptoms of disease such as fever, a runny nose and a sore throat are often ignored and self-treated. By the time patients consults the doctor two or three days have been wasted.
  • Faded effect of vaccination: Vaccine against H1N1 was administered to the patients in 2015 when major cases were reported. The vaccine gives immunity for about 8-9 months. This could be the reason why state of Maharashtra did not have many cases in 2016 but now see a rise in number of cases.

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.

Smart Cities

what are Smart Cities?

  • A ‘smart city’ is an urban region that is highly advanced in terms of overall infrastructure, sustainable real estate, communications and market viability.
  • It is a city where information technology is the principal infrastructure and the basis for providing essential services to residents.
  • There are many technological platforms involved, including but not limited to automated sensor networks and data centres.
  • In a smart city, economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand.
  • They benefit everybody, including citizens, businesses, the government and the environment.

What are the core infrastructure in a Smart City?

  • According to the documents released on the Smart Cities website, the core infrastructure in a smart city would include:
  • Adequate water supply
  • Assured electricity supply
  • Sanitation, including solid waste management
  • Efficient urban mobility and public transport
  • Affordable housing, especially for the poor
  • Robust IT connectivity and digitalisation
  • Good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation
  • Sustainable environment
  • Safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
  • Health and education

Everything about Surrogacy

What is surrogacy?

  • Surrogacy is where a woman becomes pregnant with the intention of handing over the child to someone else after giving birth.
  • Generally, she carries the baby for a couple or parent who cannot conceive a child themselves – they are known as “intended parents”.
  • There are two forms of surrogacy.
  • In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother’s egg is used, making her the genetic mother.
  • In gestational surrogacy, the egg is provided by the intended mother or a donor.
  • The egg is fertilised through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and then placed inside the surrogate mother.

Is surrogacy legal?

  • It varies from country to country.
  • Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Bulgaria prohibit all forms of surrogacy.
  • In countries including the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Belgium, surrogacy is allowed where the surrogate mother is not paid, or only paid for reasonable expenses.
  • Paying the mother a fee (known as commercial surrogacy) is prohibited.
  • Commercial surrogacy is legal in some US states, and countries including, Russia and Ukraine.

Where do people go for surrogacy?

  • countries popular with parents for surrogacy arrangements are the US,  Thailand, Ukraine and Russia.
  • Mexico, Nepal, Poland and Georgia are also among the countries described as possibilities for surrogacy arrangements.
  • Costs vary significantly from country to country, and also depend on the number of IVF cycles needed, and whether health insurance is required.

Cambodia the new destinations:

  • While Cambodia has become popular among people — both Indians and from other parts of the world — countries such as Ukraine and Kenya are attracting doctors from India.
  • India is no longer on the surrogacy map and after Bangkok and Thailand stopped surrogacy, Cambodia opened up.
  • As in the early days of surrogacy in India, the lack of proper laws or guidelines in Cambodia has proved a big attraction.
  • There is growth in surrogacy in Cambodia since last year.
  • There is a huge pressure building and Cambodia is ill-prepared to handle it.
  • Besides, there are no laws in place in Cambodia.
  • Doctors who offered surrogacy service in India are aware of the new hubs.

Important Commitees

N.K.Singh committee To review the FRBM Act of 2003
Ratan Watal Committee On digital payments
Anil Kakodkar Committee On railway safety
A.K.Bhargava Net Neutrality
Madhukar Gupta committee India Pakistan Border issue
Aravind Subramanian Tackle shortage of pulses in India
Bibek Debroy committee Railways and privatization of railways
Shekatkar committee Defense
Shyam Benegal committee Film certification
Shankar Acharya committee To pre pone the financial year to Jan from Apr
Sailesh Nayek Committee Coastal Regulation Zone
Harun Rashid Khan Committee Corporate bond market
Kelkar committee PPP
Parthasarthy Shome committee GAAR recommendations
Madhav Chitale committee De-saltation of Ganga
Amitabh Kant committee
  • look at easing the policy regime for e-commerce players, including the rules for foreign direct investment
  • Bottlenecks of digital payments

Universal basic income

Core concept :

  • It was proposed by left liberal political philosopher Philippe van Pari in his book real freedom for all.
  • According to him, basis for universal basic income is the fair distribution of real freedom to pursue the realisation of ones conception of the good life.
  • Core of the concept of basic income is absence of means test(income of an individual) and work test (employment status).
  • An alternative to universal basic income is negative income tax. According to this, individuals below a certain income threshold receives a tax credit.
  • It is the difference between basic income or guaranteed income and tax liability. It is based on a premise that all citizens will pay the taxes.

The main features of universal basic income are 

  1. It is provided to all the citizen by the state with out basic conditions like level of income and employment requirements.
  2. It is not a substitute to the existing developmental and welfare programmes. It is an add on to the existing anti poverty programmes. It is technically wrong to compare the costs of universal basic income with nutritional, child development, education and health programmes. So, internationally universal basic income is proposed in lieu of employment or income guarantee schemes.
  3. It is envisaged as a method of redistribution of wealth. So, funds shall be raised from taxation of rich rather than cutting down the expenditure on welfare.
  4. It should be universal and not targeted an end use shall not be specified.(unconditional)
  5. Resource mobilisation has to increase ten fold for the state to take up universal basic income.

Unlike this, economic survey has proposed an alternative view of universal basic income as a substitute to the existing welfare programmes.