20 October, 2020
- Announcement of Mains Test Series
- Ethics in Journalism (Ethics and Integrity)
- Many gains in fighting HIV (Science and technology)
- Warehousing scheme for farmers (Economy)
- Centre said to ask at least eight PSUs to consider buyÂbacks (Economy)
- Reasons behind leaving all the Editorials
UPSC Current Affairs: HC asks zee news to disclose source of report on Delhi riots| Page 01
UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper IV – Ethics & Integrity
Sub Theme: Media Ethics | UPSC
The fundamental objective of journalism is to serve the people with news, views, comments and information on matters of public interest in a fair, accurate, unbiased and decent manner and language. With the advent of private TV channels, the media seems to have taken over the reigns of human life and society in every walk of life. Such is the influence of media that it can make or unmake any individual, institution or any thought. Hence ethics in journalism is important. The media should not lose sight from its duties and obligations.
DUTIES OF MEDIA
In a democratic country like India the media has following duties:
- To equip the citizen with unbiased information. Media shall not taint the facts; they shall present them as they are.
- To play vital role in broadening the thinking of citizens, by empowering them with knowledge. In a country like India where there is significant rate of illiteracy, it is the duty of media to impart knowledge and broaden their views.
- To fairly criticize any action this is against the spirit of justice or essence of democracy.
- To point out the concept practices and play a crucial role in initiating the proper procedure against the people who are accused of any antisocial activities, regardless of any political connection.
- To foster the spirit of unity and brotherhood among the people, and install faith in democracy and justice.
If the media adheres strictly to its duties then the democracy will be enjoyed in true sense by the citizens of India. It will become the platform for showcasing the plight and concerns of the public.
ETHICAL ISSUES RELATED TO MEDIA
However, in the present society media is facing many ethical issues such as:
- Media should collect information from primary authentic sources, which are of use and importance to the society or the nation and then report the same in an unbiased and positive way with the aim to inform and not to create sensation and harm the public. Any direct or indirect interference from state, the owner or other sector is encroachment on its freedom to discharge its duties towards the society.
- Over a past few year media in our country has become advocates of different political parties and voice of corporates. Mainstream media became corporatized to spread its business as well as to acquire advanced infrastructure. To corporatize, it required corporate financing. Entry of corporates brought in the culture of profiteering and that culture first killed the neutrality of news media. Corporates get most profit if they can be close to the broker lobby of power. "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts even more". Thus, many news media started selective reporting. Apart from that they instead of presenting views started Imposing views.
- The media is also divided into anti-government, pro-government, and rightist groups with each entity trying to impose its own partisan views on serious national issues and even resorting to tarnish work of their rivals.
- Media trial is a matter of serious concern. Media trial creates a perception of prejudice against the accused. Judgment should be delivered in court only. In a one hour debating by news channels in which accused is framed with allegations and debated by some so called “experienced people of that field” after which the anchor gives an instant predefined verdict, which is definitely more captivating, amusing to public rather than the multifaceted and apodictic judicial procedure established by law of Indian judiciary, to which the most citizens are unaware. The journalists have started acting more or less as both prosecution and judge alleging, shouting, pronouncing verdicts.
ETHICS OF JOURNALISM
- a)Accuracy and fact based communications
- Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism.
- Journalists should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts and ensure that they have been checked.
- Journalists must be independent voices; they should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural.
- They should declare to their editors – or directly to the audience – any relevant information about political affiliations, financial arrangements or other personal connections that might constitute a conflict of interest.
- c)Fairness and Impartiality
- Most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, the stories produced by journalists should strive for balance and provide context.
- Objectivity is not always possible, and may not always be desirable (in the face, for example, of clear and undeniable brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.
- Journalists should do no harm. They should show sensitivity and care in their work recognising that what they publish or broadcast may be hurtful.
- It is not possible to report freely and in the public interest without occasionally causing hurt and offence, but journalists should always be aware of the impact of words and images on the lives of others. This is particularly important when reporting on minorities, children, the victims of violence, and vulnerable people.
- e)Accountability and Transparency
- A key principle of responsible journalism is the ability to be accountable.
- Journalists should always be open and transparent in their work except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. When they make mistakes they must correct them and expressions of regret must be sincere. They listen to their audience and provide remedies to those dealt with unfairly.
The Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards laid down by NBA for violation of which a complaint may be made, include the following principles:
· Ensure impartiality and objectivity in reporting
· Ensure neutrality
· Ensure that when reporting on crime, that crime and violence are not glorified
· Ensure utmost discretion while reporting on violence and crime against women and children
· Abhor sex and nudity
· Ensure privacy
· Ensure that national security is not endangered
· Refraining from advocating or encouraging superstition and occultism
· Ensure responsible sting operations
UPSC Current Affairs: Many gains in fighting HIV |Page 07
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper II – Polity & Governance
Sub Theme: Issues related to health | UPSC
Many gains in fighting HIV
India has an estimated 2.14 million persons living with HIV and records 87,000 estimated new infections and 69,000 AIDS-related deaths annually. India, China and Pakistan are among the 10 countries that accounted for more than 95 per cent of all new HIV infections in the Asia and the Pacific region in 2016, according to a UN report.
However, as per a newly released 2019 HIV estimates by the National AIDS Control Organization (a division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare ) with the technical support of UNAIDS –
- There has been a 66.1% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a 65.3% reduction in AIDS-related deaths in India over a nine-year period.
- The number of pregnant women living with HIV has reduced from 31,000 in 2010 to 20,000 in 2019.
- Overall, antenatal coverage has expanded, and HIV testing has increased over time and within target range. Treatment coverage has also expanded.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.3), adopted by member countries of the United Nations in 2015, set a target of ending the epidemics of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by 2030.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- HIV attacks CD4, a type of White Blood Cell (T cells) in the body’s immune system. T cells are those cells that move around the body detecting anomalies and infections in cells.
- After entering body, HIV multiplies itself and destroys CD4 cells, thus severely damaging the human immune system.
- CD4 count of a person infected with HIV reduces significantly. A person with HIV whose CD4 count falls below 200 per cubic millimetre is diagnosed with AIDS.
- Weak immune system makes a person prone to opportunistic infections and cancer. It becomes difficult for a person infected with this virus to recover from even a minor injury or sickness.
- By receiving treatment, severe form of HIV can be prevented.
- HIV is transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, anal fluids and breast milk. To transmit HIV, bodily fluids must contain enough of the virus. A person with ‘Undetectable HIV’ cannot transfer HIV to another person even after transfer of fluids.
TREATMENT OF AIDS
ANTIRETROVIRAL THERAPY (ART)
- It consists of the combination of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.
- ART also prevents onward transmission of HIV. Huge reductions have been seen in rates of death and infections, when use is made of a potent ARV regimen, particularly in early stages of the disease.
- Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is now being given to people living with HIV, irrespective of the CD4 count.
STEM CELL TRANSPLANT
Recently a person suffering from HIV has been treated by bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor. He has been cured with CCR5-delta 32 technique, which is based on a stem cell transplant involving CCR5-delta 32 homozygous donor cells.
Cysteine-cysteine chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) is a protein on the surface of white blood cells that is involved in the immune system as it acts as a receptor for chemokines. (Chemokines are involved in signalling the body’s inflammation response to injuries.)
CCR5 is the most commonly used receptor by HIV-1. People who have mutated copies of CCR5 are resistant to HIV-1 virus strain.
CCR5 is found in the cell membranes of many types of mammalian cells, including nerve cells and white blood cells.
- Various mutations of the CCR5 gene are known that result in damage to the expressed receptor.
- One of the mutant forms of the gene is CCR5-delta 32, which results from deletion of a particular sequence of 32 base-pairs.
- This mutant form of the gene results in a receptor so damaged that it no longer functions. But surprisingly, this does not appear to be harmful. Moreover, this mutation can be advantageous to those individuals who carry it.
- The virus HIV normally enters a cell via its CCR5 receptors, especially in the initial stage of a person becoming infected. But in people with receptors crippled by the CCR5-delta32 mutation, entry of HIV by this means is blocked, providing immunity to AIDS for homozygous carriers and greatly slowing progress of the disease in heterozygous carriers.
- Up to 20% of ethnic western Europeans carry this mutation, which is rare or absent in other ethnic groups.
In stem cell transplant, an infected person is treated with stem cell transplant from donors carrying a genetic mutation that prevents expression of an HIV receptor CCR5. Only two people have been cured of HIV by experts using this method of treatment. Researchers find this method very complicated, expensive and risky.
National and Global initiatives to fight HIV
The National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), 2017-24, aims to achieve elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis as well as elimination of HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination by 2020.
“Mission Sampark” was launched to bring back People Living with HIV who have left treatment after starting Anti Retro Viral Treatment (ART). Presently, about 11.5 lakh People Living with HIV (PLHIVs) are taking free ART through 536 ART centres in the country. It is big challenge to trace those who are Left to Follow Up and needed to be brought under ART services.
Project Sunrise is an initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states in India, especially among people injecting drugs.
National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) launched a ‘Fast-Tracking of EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission) strategy-cum-action plan’ in June, 2019.
With the launch of EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission) of HIV programmes or prevention of parent-to-child transmission of HIV in 2002, all pregnant women could access free HIV testing along with other services at antenatal clinics, and free treatment regimens for life to prevent HIV transmission from mothers to babies.
India made HIV testing for all pregnant women free and HIV treatment is offered the same way nationwide without cost to pregnant mothers living with HIV through the national ‘treat all’ policy.
90:90:90 Strategy: It is a HIV treatment programme of UNAIDS which has set targets of 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status (90% diagnosed), 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy (90% on HIV treatment) and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression (90% suppressed).
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM)
- Founded in 2002, it is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases.
- Designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics.
- The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in countries and communities.
- GFATM contribute a substantial portion of the external development assistance to the health sector in India.
UPSC Current Affairs: centre said to ask at least eight PSUs to consider buy backs | Page 14
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper-III – Economy
Sub Theme: Public sector enterprise| UPSC
Meaning of Buyback
Buy-back is a procedure that enables a company to purchase its shares from its existing shareholders, usually at a price near to or higher than the prevailing market price.
When a company buys back, it reduces its outstanding shares in the market, which increases the percentage shareholding for the remaining shareholders.
Mechanism for Buy back of Shares
In a buy-back, the company generally offers its shareholders an option to tender a portion of their shares within a certain time frame and at a specified price.
This price compensates the shareholders for tendering their shares rather than holding on to them.
Sometimes, companies buy back shares on the open market over an extended period of time.
Reasons for the buyback of the shares:
To enable the promoters to increase their stakes in the company.
To improve earnings per share;
To provide an additional exit route to shareholders when shares are under valued or are thinly traded;
To enhance consolidation of stake in the company;
To return surplus cash to shareholders;
To support share price during periods of sluggish market conditions;
UPSC Current Affairs: warehousing scheme for farmers | Page 05
UPSC Syllabus: Mains: GS Paper III - Economy
Sub Theme: Agriculture| UPSC
►WAREHOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND REGULATORY AUTHORITY
- The Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority was established under the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007. It functions under the Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
- No person shall commence or carry on the business of warehousing issuing negotiable warehouse receipts unless he has obtained a registration certificate after fulfilling the prescribed norms in respect of the concerned warehouse or warehouses granted by the Authority under this Act.
BENEFITS OF NEGOTIABLE WAREHOUSE RECEIPTS
- The negotiable warehouse receipts issued by the WDRA will help the farmers to seek loans from banks against the NWRs to avoid distress sales of agricultural produce during the peak marketing season and to avoid the post harvest storage loss.
- Warehouses which intend to issue e-NWRS are required to be registered with WDRA.
WDRA has decided that from August 2019 onwards, no warehouseman shall issue any Negotiable Warehouse Receipt in physical form, and shall get onboarded with one or more repositories registered with the WDRA and shall issue Negotiable Warehouse Receipts only in electronic form.
Launch of Negotiable Warehouse Receipt module in National Warehouse Market Software in the E-NAM:
- Warehouse (Registered with WDRA) trading module with payment feature to enable small and marginal farmers to directly trade their stored produce from selected WDRA registered warehouses which are declared deemed market by the State.
- Farmers will be able to place their in WDRA accredited warehouses
- States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have declared designated warehouses in the States as deemed market.
Benefits of eNWRs integration with e-NAM
- Depositor can save the logistics expense and will have better income.
- Farmers can sell the produce across India to get better price and at the same time can save himself from hassle of mandi.
- Farmers will be able to place their produce in WDRA accredited warehouses avail the benefit of pledge loan is required.
- Price stabilisation by matching supply and demand through time and place utility.