GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Newborn Mortality: India 12th Worst Among Low-Income Countries.

Background

  • India has been ranked 12th-worst among 52 low-middle income countries based on the number of children dying within the first month of their birth, which is 25.4 per 1,000 live births.
  • Pakistan is the worst with 45.6 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) which has, for the first time, come out with rankings based on their newborn mortality rate (the number of deaths per 1,000 live births).

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Japan, with an NMR of 0.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, has been ranked the world’s safest country in which to be born followed by Iceland (1) and Singapore (1.1). The US’s NMR stands at 3.7, only slightly better than lower-middle income countries like Sri Lanka and Ukraine, and is ranked 15 among high-income countries.
  • Unicef says newborn survival is closely linked to a country’s income level. High-income countries have an average NMR of just 3. In comparison, low-income countries have an NMR of 27. This gap is significant. If every country brought its NMR to the high-income average, or below, by 2030, 16 million newborn lives could be saved, the UN body says.
  • It adds that more than 80% of newborn deaths are the result of premature birth, complications during labour and delivery and infections such as sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia. Babies born to mothers with no education face almost twice the risk of dying during the newborn period as compared to babies born to mothers with at least secondary education, it said.

Sources- TOI.

 

GS Paper II- Governance, Polity.

Cabinet Approves Setting Up Tribunal To Settle Mahanadi Water Dispute.

Background

  • In line with a Supreme Court’s order on January, 2018, the union cabinet on 20th February, 2018 approved setting up of a tribunal to resolve the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi river waters.
  • The tribunal has been constituted under the Inter-State River Disputes Act, 1956 on the request of Odisha which has repeatedly sought its formation stating that negotiations have failed to resolve the matter.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The tribunal would determine water sharing among basin states on the basis of the overall availability of water in the complete Mahanadi basin, contribution of each state, the present utilization of water resources in each state and the potential for future development.
  • According to an official statement, the tribunal will consist of a chairman and two other members nominated by the Chief Justice of India from among judges of the Supreme Court or high courts.
  • Further, services of two assessors who are water resources experts having experience in handling sensitive water-related issues will be provided to advise the tribunal in its proceedings … the tribunal is required to submit its report and decision within a period of three years which can be extended to a further period not exceeding two years due to unavoidable reasons, the statement said.
  • The formation of the tribunal comes after the apex court in December 2017 pulled up the central government for not forming the tribunal. Thereafter in January, 2018, SC directed the central government to constitute the tribunal within one month to resolve the issue.

Sources- Livemint.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

Under YH Malegam’s Chairmanship: RBI Sets Up Panel To Monitor Bad Loans, Rising Cases Of Frauds, Audits.

Background

  • Stung by the Rs 11,400 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of Y H Malegam, a former member of the Central Board of Directors of RBI, to look into the entire gamut of issues relating to classification of bad loans, rising incidents of frauds and effectiveness of audits.
  • The committee will look into the reasons for high divergence observed in asset classification and provisioning by banks vis-à-vis the RBI’s supervisory assessment, and the steps needed to prevent it, factors leading to an increasing incidence of frauds in banks and the measures (including IT interventions) needed to curb and prevent it and the role and effectiveness of various types of audits conducted in banks in mitigating the incidence of such divergence and frauds, the RBI said on 20th February, 2018.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The RBI move follows a letter shot off by the government to the RBI asking whether the RBI had at any stage detected the fraud, involving letter of undertaking issued to foreign branches of Indian banks on behalf of companies promoted by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian also raised questions about the controls exercised by the RBI.
  • The members of the committee will be: Bharat Doshi, Member, Central Board of RBI, S Raman, former Chairman and MD, Canara Bank and former Whole-Time Member, SEBI and Nandkumar Saravade, Chief Executive Officer, Reserve Bank Information Technology Pvt Ltd (ReBIT). A K Misra, Executive Director, RBI, will be the Member-Secretary of the committee.
  • In a statement issued on 20th Feb, the RBI said that the RBI as part of its ongoing efforts for strengthening of the supervisory framework in the country, has been issuing necessary instructions to banks from time to time on a variety of issues of prudential supervisory concern, including the management of operational risks inherent in the functioning of banks. The risks arising from the potential malicious use of the SWIFT infrastructure, created by banks for their genuine business needs, has always been a component of their operational risk profile.
  • On February 16, the RBI had said it would take appropriate supervisory action in the Rs 11,400 crore PNB fraud and termed the fraud a failure of internal controls in the bank.The fraud in PNB is a case of operational risk arising on account of delinquent behaviour by one or more employees of the bank and failure of internal controls, RBI said.

Sources- The Indian Express.