Current Affairs for today- 1st November 2019

GS Paper I, Paper II

Sex ratio improves in country; birth and death rates dip


India has registered an improved sex ratio and a decline in birth and death rates with non-communicable diseases dominating over communicable in the total disease burden of the country, according to the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence’s (CBHI) National Health Profile (NHP) 2019. The total fertility rate in 12 states has fallen below 2 children per woman.


Sex ratio: It is used to describe the number of females per 1000 of males. Sex ratio is a valuable source for finding the population of women in India and what is the ratio of women to that of men in India.

Since the last five decades the sex ratio has been moving around 930 of females to that of 1000 of males.

It is an important social indicator as it affects marriage rates, women’s labour-market participation rates.

Curacao ranks 1 with the highest sex ratio of a female population 54.6%, i.e. there are 121.80 women per men according to the data in 2018 United Nation Organisation and CIA “World Fact Book” on the world population by gender and female to male ratio.

Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) was established in 1961 under the Directorate General of Health Services with the vision to have “A strong Health Management Information System (HMIS) in entire country”.

National Heath Profile (NHP) CBHI has been publishing the National Health Profile since 2005 and its digital version since 2015.

This information is essential for health system policy development, governance, health research, human resource development, health-education and training.

The NHP covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, human resources in the health sector and health infrastructure as its various indicators to provide a versatile database of the health of the nation. It is also an important source of information on various communicable and non-communicable diseases that are not covered under any other major programmes.

Takeaways from the census of the NHP, 2019:

  • According to the data provided by the NHP, the sex ratio of the country has improved from 933 in 2001 to 943 in 2011 which is in an upward trend, i.e there are 943 females per 1000 males.
  • In the rural areas, there is an increased sex ratio from 946 to 949.
    The corresponding increase in urban areas has been of 29 points from 900 to 929.
  • Kerala has recorded the highest sex ratio in respect of total population (1,084), rural population (1,078) and urban (1,091). The lowest sex ratio in rural areas has been recorded in Chandigarh (690).
  • The estimated birth rate reduced from 25.8 in 2000 to 20.4 in 2016 while the death rate declined from 8.5 to 6.4 per 1,000 population over the same period. The natural growth rate declined from 17.3 in 2000 to 14 in 2016 as per the latest available information.
  • As per the report, the total fertility rate (average number of children that will be born to a woman during her lifetime) in 12 States has fallen below two children per woman and nine States have reached replacement levels of 2.1 and above.
    Delhi, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have the lowest fertility rate among other States.
    While 28.5% population of India lies between 0-14 age group, only 8.3% are above the age of 60 years.
  • It was also observed that non-communicable diseases dominated over the communicable in the total disease burden of the country.
  • The report showed that the estimated birth rate, death rate and natural growth rate are declining.
  • The number of total registered allopathic doctors up to 2018 was 11, 54,686, while the dental surgeons registered with Central/ State Dental Councils of India was 2,54,283. The registered AYUSH Doctors stood at 7,99,879 on January 1, 2018.

What affects sex ratio?

  1. With improvements in health care and the relative absence of wars, men now outnumber women for most of their lives in many countries.
  2. Sex-selective migration patterns and the female infanticide practised in countries where females are treated as socially inferior.
  3. Lack of women empowerment and least access to education in comparison to men.
  4. Differentiated social status of women due to the objectification of a girl child as a burden on the family and the old customs of rural areas.
  5. Female mortality rates and female feticide (due to pre-natal sex determination).
  6. Patriarchal societies with dowry as the reason behind low sex ratio.

GS Paper II

US slams Russia over S-400 deals


India had decided to buy the S-400 for $5.2 billion in 2018 from Russia- a decision that could potentially strain the good relationship between India and the US.  US diplomat recently said that Russia and China are exploiting countries’ security requirements of partners of USA that would impede the legal and technological possibilities to provide them with advanced defence machine technology.

What’s in the news?

US could impose significant sanctions under a law called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on persons engaged in “significant transaction” with Russian defence and intelligence sectors.  Its major objective is to discourage exports of Russian defence equipment. On August 2, 2017, the President signed into law of CAATSA which among other things, imposes new sanctions on Iran, Russia, and North Korea.  It requires the red pen authority to impose 5 or more of the 12 sanctions described in Section 235 of CAATSA. Some are;

  1. Prohibition on loans to the sanctioned person.
  2. Prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons.
  3. Prohibition on procurement by the United States Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned person.
  4. Denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned person, etc.

While the U.S. President has the authority to grant waivers under various conditions, the administration has cautioned countries, including India that it is at risk of sanctions if it goes ahead with the Russian deal.

The U.S. has warned Turkey, a NATO ally for 65 years that is buying the S-400, of CAATSA sanctions, though they have not been imposed yet. Turkey was, however, kicked out of a programme to build American F-35 jets.

What is S-400?

It is Russia’s most advanced air defence missile system. S-400 is a long-range surface-to-air missile defence system, capable of destroying hostile strategic bombers, jets, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km.

Implications and why India should avoid CAATSA sanctions?

  • CAATSA comes into the effect, it will directly affect India’s arms procurement from Russia, which is its 60-year-old supply partner.
  • India has already signed a deal for S-400 air defence system scaled for delivery in 2021; 1135.6 frigates and Ka226T helicopters and likewise projects are bound to fall into the US scanner.
  • Can significantly affect India-Russia joint defence ventures like- Brahmos Aerospace, Indo Russian Aviation Ltd and Multi-Role Transport Aircraft.
  • Indian manufacturing industries will be hit as they import quality spare parts, raw materials and research materials from Russian entities for defence equipment assembly.
  • With the tariffs and counter-tariffs at the WTO, it is unwise for India to assume that CAATSA waivers would save itself from mighty USA.
  • Sea Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 24 multi-role helicopters (MRHs), 10 additional long-range maritime patrol P8Is (Poseidon Eight India), and other platforms from the US are on the cards and hence India must be careful while balancing its neutrality.

GS Paper II

MPs grill officials on DNA Bill


A parliamentary panel headed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh began hearing the contentious DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 tabled; with members grilling officials from the Department of Biotechnology on the scope for violations of privacy in the proposed DNA data bank.

What is the new DNA Bill?

DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019(Under Ministry of Science and Technology): The Bill seeks to create a national data bank and regional data banks which will have DNA samples of undertrials, suspects, missing persons and unknown deceased persons. It has proposed DNA sampling and profiling of citizens accused of a crime or reported missing, and storing their unique genetic information for administrative purposes.

The same bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2018 but had lapsed.  In 2018, the Law Commission of India in its 271st report prepared the draft bill named the DNA Based Technology (Use and Regulation) Bill 2017.

DNA Index System: It is a first-of-its-kind initiative which allows generation of DNA profiles from live samples like saliva, bloodstains, etc. within 90-120 minutes.

This system uses the latest DNA technology developed by IntegenX, Inc USA, known as the RapidHit DNA system.

Highlights of the DNA Bill are:

  • Every Data Bank will maintain the following indices: (i) crime scene index, (ii) suspects’ or undertrials’ index, (iii) offenders’ index, (iv) missing persons’ index, and (v) unknown deceased persons’ index.
  • The Bill establishes a DNA Regulatory Board from whom any DNA Laboratory must be registered and accredited under.  Every DNA laboratory that analyses a DNA sample to establish the identity of an individual, has to be accredited by the Board.
  • Written consent by individuals is required to collect DNA samples from them.  Consent is not required for offences with the punishment of more than seven years of imprisonment or death.
  • The Bill provides for the removal of DNA profiles of suspects on the filing of a police report or court order, and of undertrials on the basis of a court order. 
  • Profiles in the crime scene and missing persons’ index will be removed on a written request.  

Arguments against the bill:

  • With the recent malware attack on the most secure Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, then there are bleak chances that this sensitive data bank will not be hacked.
  • The definitions of the suspect, the absence of a sunset clause to expunge the DNA samples is not mentioned in the presentation.
  • The reason for the inclusion of the members of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the proposed DNA regulatory board has not been explained.
  • The major criticism behind the Bill is the violation of an individual’s privacy by collecting his/her generic data.
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About the Author

Manasa Sastry

Masters degree holder in Forensic Science. Currently, a UPSC Aspirant helping fellow learners to sort their daily current affairs preparation. Loves to learn and help others. Music, dance and art are just a few of my many hobbies.

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