La Excellence IAS Academy

The women of ASHA: overworked, underpaid and on the edge of breakdown

Syllabus: GS-I

Subject: Society and Social Justice

Topic: Social sector – Health

Issue: ASHA volunteers

ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist):

  • a community health worker program launched by the Government of India in 2005.
  • ASHA is a trained female community health activist who is selected from the village itself and is accountable to it.
  • Works as an interface between the community and the public health system.
  • Responsibilities of ASHA workers:
    • Provide basic health services, such as immunisation, antenatal care, postnatal care, and family planning counselling.
    • Promote healthy behaviours, such as handwashing, using sanitary latrines, and eating a balanced diet.
    • Mobilise the community to participate in health programs, such as immunisation campaigns and nutrition programs.
    • Collect data on health indicators in their villages.
  • Challenges for ASHA women:
    • Triple burden – housework, childcare, and looking after all homes and families for the health system .
    • Very poor Remuneration: Low pay and lack of benefits for ASHA women as they are not designated as health care workers.
    • Lack of training and support.
    • Limited access to transportation and communication facilities – work during peak humidity and heat.

In the 2024-25 Interim Budget, the Central government announced its decision to provide free health insurance cover for all ASHAs and Anganwadi workers and helpers under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme.

Source: The Hindu

X complies with orders from govt. to block accounts, posts.

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: polity

Topic: Rights Issues

Issue:  IT Act 2000

Context: X, formerly Twitter’s detailed statement on the Union government’s frequent blocking requests.

Laws/Regulations related:

  1. Section 69A of IT Act 2000: Empowers the government to block access to information in circumstances like threats to
    1. the unity,
    2. integrity,
    3. security
    4. sovereignty of India etc.
  2. Rule 16 of IT Rules 2021: Blocking of information in case of emergency.

Related Case law: Shreya Singhal v. Union of India 2015

  • Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, declared unconstitutional for violating the freedom of speech guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
  • The court upheld the constitutionality of Section 69A of the act.
  • Recently the Karnataka High Court dismissed pleas by Twitter challenging the blocking orders by the government upholding Section 69A of the act.

Source: The Hindu

Real interest rate of 2% risks impairing growth: MPC’s Varma.


Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Economy

Topic: Monetary policies and instruments

Issue: Monetary Policy

Context: Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Jayanth R. Varma dissented the repo rate of 6.5% in the MPC meeting.

  • Repo rate, short for repurchase rate, is the rate at which the RBI lends short-term money to commercial banks.

Monetary Policy Committee:

  • Constituted in 2016 by amending RBI Act,1934.
  • Composition: It is a six-member committee, three from RBI and three appointed by the central government.
  • The Governor of RBI – ex-officio chairperson of the committee.
  • Objective – To maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
  • The MPC determines the Policy Rate(repo rate) to achieve inflation target and the decided repo rate is binding on the RBI.
  • The MPC is mandated to meet at least four times in a year.
  • Voting: Each member of the MPC has one vote, and in the event of an equality of votes, the Governor has a second or casting vote.
Inflation target:

●       As per RBI Act 1934, the Central Government will determine the inflation target in terms of the Consumer Price Index(CPI), once in every five years.

●       The current inflation target is between 2% to 4%.

Source: The Hindu

₹19,000-crore Navy deal for 200 BrahMos approved

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Science & Technology

Topic: Defence

Issue: Defence Acquisitions.

Context: Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has approved the  procurement of  BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles for the Indian Navy.

Brahmos Missile:

  • Medium-range supersonic cruise missile (travel faster than the speed of sound)
  • BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd: an India-Russia joint venture, produces the missiles
  • Exports: Deal with Philippines to export missiles.
    • Argentina has also shown interest in procuring.
+1 Advantage for Mains:

Annual defence exports target  to $5 billion by 2024-25, from the $1.5 billion in 2021-22.


Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)

  • The apex body for decision-making on national security issues.
  • Composition:
    • Prime Minister of India (Chairperson)
    • Ministers of Defence, Home Affairs, External Affairs and Finance. Other ministers depending on the agenda.
  • Functions:
    • Discusses all matters relating to national security.
    • Makes decisions on the deployment of armed forces, intelligence gathering, and counter-terrorism measures.

Approves major defence acquisitions and other security-related expenditures.

Source: The Hindu