Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Feb 6, 2021

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EIU’s “Democracy Index” – India at 53rd position

What is the News?

The Economist Intelligence Unit(EIU) has released the Democracy Index, 2020. In that, India dropped two places and currently at 53rd position.


Democracy Index 2020:

  • It was started in 2006 by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The index provides a clear image of the status of democracy worldwide in 167 countries.
  • Categories: The index is based on five categories :
    • Civil liberties,
    • Electoral process and pluralism;
    • Functioning of government;
    • Political participation;
    • Political culture.
  • Classification: Each country will be provided with a score of 0 to 10. These scores are decided based on the 60 indicators within the five categories. Based on their scores, each country is then classified into any one of the four types of regime. Such as,
    • full democracy,
    • flawed democracy,
    • hybrid regime,
    • authoritarian regime.

Findings Related to India:

  • India has dropped two places and India’s score was 6.61. Currently, India was in 53rd position in 2020. This is due to,
    • A lapse in democratic processes among authorities.
    • Suppressive actions by the government on civil liberties.
  • India has been classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ along with countries such as the US, France, Belgium and Brazil.
  • However, India’s rank was higher than most of its neighbouring countries, such as Sri Lanka (68), Bangladesh (76), Bhutan (84) and Pakistan (105).

What is “Flawed Democracy” country?

These are the countries which hold free and fair elections and respect the basic civil liberties. But they have notable weaknesses with regards to democracy. Such as an underdeveloped political culture, problems in governance and low levels of political participation.

Other Findings:

  • Topped by: Norway has topped the index followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada.

Source: The Hindu

Registered Unrecognised Political Parties are not transparent : ADR report

What is the News?
Association for Democratic Reforms(ADR) has released a report titled “Analysis of Donations received by Registered Unrecognised Political Parties”. The report underlines the lack of transparency among Registered Unrecognised Political Parties.


What is Registered Unrecognised Political Parties?

If a party satisfies any one of below-mentioned criteria, then they are called Registered Unrecognised Political Parties. The conditions are

    • If the political party is newly registered
    • If the political parties not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a State party
    • Political Parties that never contested in elections since they got registered with the Election Commission.

These parties don’t enjoy all the benefits extended to the recognised parties such as reserving a separate symbol for the party, subsidized land for party office etc.

Key Findings:

  • The number of registered unrecognised political parties has increased two-fold from 2010 to 2019. From 1,112 parties in 2010 to 2,301 in 2019.
  • State-wise: Of the total of 2,301 registered unrecognised parties, 653 parties or 28.38% belong to Uttar Pradesh. This is followed by Delhi (291 parties or 12.65%) and Tamil Nadu (184 parties or 8%).
  • The number of these parties has increased disproportionately during the year of Parliamentary elections between 2018 and 2019.
  • Donations: These parties received 90 crores from 12,998 donors in two financial years (2017-18 and 2018-19). Among that, 65.63 crores or 72.88% of the total declared donations belongs to Apna Desh Party of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Contributions Report: Only 78 or 3.39% of the total 2,301 registered unrecognised parties donation information is available in the public domain for 2018-19. For 2017-18, the reports are available for only 82 parties or 3.56% of the total registered unrecognised parties.

Source: The Hindu

“Square Kilometre Array” (SKA) Project

What is the News?
 The Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) Council held its first meeting recently. In that, the member countries approved the establishment of Square Kilometre Array (SKA).


 Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project:

  • It is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope. It is not a single telescope. It consists of an array of antennas strategically designed and set up in South Africa and Australia.
    • South Africa – host high and mid-frequency dish antennas
    • Australia – Low-frequency antennas.
  • Aim: To allow astronomers to look deeper into the universe and unravel secrets about its evolution.
  • Goals:
    • To study the universe and its evolution, origin and evolution of cosmic magnetism and dark energy and evolution of galaxies.
    • To detect very weak extra-terrestrial signals and search for molecules that support life.
  • Member Countries: South Africa, Australia, UK, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
    • Note: India’s SKA membership is currently under review with India’s Department of Atomic Energy(DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and is expected to be completed sometime this year.
  • What is Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO)?
    • SKAO is a new intergovernmental organisation dedicated to radio astronomy
    • The operation, maintenance and construction of SKA will be overseen by Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO).
    • Headquarters:  The SKAO is headquartered in the UK.
  • India’s Participation: India is participating in the project through the DAE and the DST.

Apart from that, the Pune-based TIFR-National Centre for Radio Astrophysics leads a team of researchers from different Indian institutes.

  • India’s Contributions:
    • The Indian team was among the first to submit and get the design approval of a highly sophisticated Telescope Manager (TM). The TM is also nicknamed as the “nervous system” of the SKA observatory.
    • The Indian team has been chosen to lead the construction of the TM system which will be responsible for end-to-end operations of SKAO.
    • India will also contribute towards building digital hardware for the SKA low-frequency receiver systems. India also builds the digital hardware of some parts of the mid-frequency telescopes in SKA. Apart from that, India is also producing some parts of the data processing units.

Source: Indian Express

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana(PMMVY)

What is the News?
The Central Government has informed that the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana(PMMVY) has crossed 1.75 crores of eligible women beneficiaries, till the financial year 2020.


 Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana(PMMVY):

  • Launched in: It is a maternity benefit scheme introduced in 2017. It is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD). The scheme is in accordance with the National Food Security Act 2013.
  • Type: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • Aim:
    • To provide partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare.
    • To provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.
    • To breastfeed the child during the first six months of the birth. As it is very vital the development of the child.
  • Beneficiaries: Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) who have their pregnancy on or after 1st January 2017 are eligible. The cash incentive is payable in three instalments for the first live birth.
    • Exclusion: PW&LM who are in regular employment with the Central/State Government or PSUs or those who receive similar benefits under any law.
  • Benefits: Under the Scheme, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM) receive a direct cash benefit transfer of Rs. 5,000 in three instalments. The amount will be credited to the beneficiary on fulfilling the respective conditions. Such as:
    • Early registration of pregnancy (First instalment)
    • Ante-natal check-up (Second instalment)
    • Registration of the birth of the child and completion of the first cycle of vaccination. (Third instalment)
  • The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on average, a beneficiary will get Rs. 6,000.
  • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented under the platform of Integrated Child Development Scheme.

Additional Facts:

  • Janani Suraksha Yojana(JSY): It is a safe motherhood intervention scheme launched in 2005 under the National Health Mission (NHM).
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is implementing the Scheme
    • Objective: To reduce maternal and infant mortality by promoting institutional delivery among pregnant women.
    • Benefits: Under the scheme, eligible pregnant women are entitled for cash assistance of Rs. 1400. There is no bar on the age of mother, the number of children or type of institution (government or private health facility).

Source: The Hindu

KAPILA campaign

What is the News?

The Union Education Minister informed the Lok Sabha about the KAPILA campaign launched in October 2020. The campaign was launched on 89th birth anniversary of former President and Scientist Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.


  • KAPILA stands for Kalam Program for Intellectual Property Literacy and Awareness campaign.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Education
  • Objectives: The objectives of the campaign include
    • To create awareness regarding Intellectual Property Rights(IPR) in Higher Education Institutions(HEIs),
    • To develop training program on IPR for faculty and students of HEIs
    • To sensitise and develop a vibrant Intellectual Property(IP) filing system.
    • To enable IPR protection on the inventions originating from the faculty and students of HEIs

Source: PIB

PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana

What is the News?

The Finance Minister has launched a new scheme titled “PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana”. In general, The scheme aims to develop capacities in the health care system over 6 yrs.

PM Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat Yojana:

  • Type: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • Aim: The scheme aims to
    • Improve primary, secondary, and tertiary care health systems,
    • Strengthen existing national institutions in Health sector
    • Create new institutions, to cater to detection and cure of new and emerging diseases.
  • Duration of the Scheme: Six Years
  • Features of the Scheme: The scheme will support in the setting up of
    • Rural, Urban Health and Wellness Centres
    • Integrated Public Health Labs
    • Critical health care hospital blocks
    • National institution for One Health
    • Regional research platform for WHO South-East Asia Region,
    • 9 Biosafety Level III laboratories and 4 regional centres of National Institutes for Virology.
    • Strengthening National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and 5 regional branches of it
    • Expanding the integrated health information panel.

Source: The Hindu

“Yudh Abhyas” – Indo-U.S. joint military exercise

What is the News?
The 16th edition of Indo-U.S. joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ will be held in Rajasthan between February 8 and 21,2021.


 Exercise Yudh Abhyas:

  • It is one of the largest joint military training exercises between India and USA. The exercise was started in 2004 under the US Army Pacific Partnership Program.
  • Aim: To enhance cooperation and interoperability between the two armies. It also focuses on counter-terrorism operations under the United Nations mandate.
  • Significance: The exercise will enhance the level of defence cooperation between both armies. It will also foster the bilateral relations between both nations and reiterate India’s key role as a key partner in the Indo-Pacific region.

Other Exercises Between India and US:

  • Exercise Tiger Triumph– It is a tri-service military exercise between India and the US.
  • Exercise Vajra Prahar: It is a Special Forces joint military training exercise. It is conducted alternately in India and the US since 2010.
  • Exercise Cope India: It is a series of bilateral Air Force exercises between India and the United States.
  • Exercise Malabar: It is a multilateral naval exercise that includes simulated war games and combat manoeuvres. It was started in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the Indian and the US navies. Japan joined in 2015. In 2020, the Australian Navy has participated in the exercise for the first time since 2007

Source: The Hindu


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