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Q.1) Importance of freedom of press has assumed great importance in the present scenario. Critically examine. (GS-1)

Introduction:

  • Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through various mediums, such as electronic media and published materials.
  • Wherever such freedom exists mostly implies the absence of interference from an overreaching state and its preservation may be sought through constitutional or other legal protections.
  • In India, freedom of the press has been treated as part of the “freedom of speech and expression”guaranteed by Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution.

Misuse of freedom of press:

  • There are often wide public outrages following the negative coverage by press.
  • The press is often guilty of exhibiting a marked bias towards a certain political figure or a party or community or group.
  • Freedom of the press is seen to block progress and to help businessmen make money.
  • Freedom of press may divert attention of the Indian people from the real issues which are socio-economic, to non-issues.
  • The press is also looked upon by its owners as a means of making money.

Importance of freedom of the press:

  • Fundamental to a democratic society: The freedom of press is fundamental to a democratic society like India for it is helpful in strengthening democracy.
  • Check on Government and Administrators: An independent press and news-media press acts as an important check on Government and Administrators.
  • Voice against any social ill or wrong: It is also responsible to raise voice against any social ill or wrong.
  • Strengthening a nation: It works towards strengthening the sovereignty and integrity of a nation.
  • Acts for the public: At national, regional and local level, it is the public’s voice, activist and guardian as well as educator, entertainer and contemporary chronicler.
  • Caution in passing judgments: The press exercises caution in passing judgments, especially on matters where the due process of law is yet to be completed.

Q.2) What is Islamic Banking? Examine the implication of Islamic banking in India. (GS-2)

Introduction:

  • Islamic or Sharia banking is a finance system based on the principles of not charging interest, which is prohibited under Islam.
  • Some of the modes of Islamic banking/finance include Mudarabah(Profit and loss sharing),  Wadiah (safekeeping), Musharaka (joint venture), Murabahah (cost plus) and Ijar (leasing).

Basis of Islamic Banking:

  • In order to earn money without charging interest, Islamic banks use equity-participation systems.
  • This means that if bank loans money to a business, the business pays back the loan without interest, but it gives the bank a share in its profits.
  • If the business defaults on the loan or does not earn any profits, the bank does not receive any profit either.

Salient features:

  • Collecting interest or “riga” is not permitted under Islamic law.
  • Since this system of banking is grounded in Islamic principles, all the undertakings of the banks follow Islamic morals.
  • Financial transactions within Islamic banking are a culturally distinct form of ethical investing.
  • For example, investments involving alcohol, gambling, pork, etc. are prohibited.

Impacts of Islamic banking in India:

  • India is a secular country by Constitution. Thus opening any financial institution with the name of a religion can raise question among other religious groups.
  • There would be much of chaos for manpower. There is a lack of adequate work force trained in Sharia banking.
  • The present banking rules and regulations in India do not allow the operation of Islamic Finance in India for it creates hurdle in achieving complete financial inclusion.
  • Section 8 of Banking Regulation Act, mandates that a banking company cannot deal in the selling or buying or bartering of goods, which is prevalent in Shariah-compliant structures such as Murabaha in India.
  • Islamic banking may pave the way for the entry for terrorist funding.

Q.3) Discuss the concept of Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) and explain its role in India’s fight against malnutrition. (GS-1)

Introduction:

Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF):

  • Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) is a high-energy, micronutrient enhanced paste used to treat children under age 5 who are affected by severe acute malnutrition.
  • RUTF is a packaged paste of peanuts, oil, sugar, vitamins, milk powder and mineral supplements, which contains 520-550 kilocalories of energy per 100 g.
  • Additional ingredients may include nuts, legumes, grains and sweeteners to improve the taste.
  • The paste is given to children aged between six months and six years, usually after a doctor’s prescription.

Malnutrition and India:

  • India’s hunger situation is worsening with the county slipping from 97th spot in 2016 to 100th position in the latest 2017 Global Hunger Index (GHI).
  • The report revealed that India’s hunger crisis is worse than all its neighboring countries.

Role of Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) in India’s fight against malnutrition:

  • This makes it a practical solution where cooking facilities and fuel are limited.
  • RUTF has a long shelf life and is safe for use even in the absence of clean drinking water.
  • The use of RUTF allows those children without medical complications to be cured right in their own homes and communities.
  • In this approach, community health workers are trained in early detection to recognize cases of severe acute malnutrition and provide RUTF and routine medical care.
  • At the same time, health workers learn to recognize medical complications and refer those children to hospitals and health centres for further in-patient treatment.
  • The impotance of the community-based approach is that early detection and early treatment leads to better rates of survival and the treatment of many more children.
  • It also empowers communities and is much more cost-effective than in-patient treatment.

Way ahead:

  • There is a need for prevention and long term solutions.
  • The solutions should involve dismantling unequal power structures, improving equitable access to health services and nutritious foods, promoting breastfeeding and optimal infant and young child feeding practices, improving water and sanitation, and planning for cyclic food shortages and emergencies.
  • Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) can be useful for The Sustainable Development Goals which aims to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
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