Daily News Analysis – May 31, 2019

Source: The Hindu, Live Mint and Indian Express


Context: With the arrest of two foreign nationals, the Delhi police said they have busted an organised international racket of skimming and cloning of ATM cards across Europe, India and other countries.


What are ATM skimmers?

  • ATM skimmers are add-on devices that fraudsters attach over the cash machine’s card slot.
  • These devices have the capability of ‘reading’ information from the card’s magnetic stripe and then either store or transmit the information to the fraudster, who then clones the card using the information.
  • Anti-skimming devices send out signals that prevent the skimmer from functioning.
  • Similarly, white-listing solutions allow only trusted applications to work on the ATM and block any other application.


Context: The World Health Organization has selected the Rajasthan government’s Medical & Health Department for its award this year in recognition of its achievements in the field of tobacco control.

The Health Department of the State is the only government body in the country which will be awarded for its tobacco-free initiatives.


Context: A recent Maharashtra government report has announced Aadhaar linkage with at least 90% of the State’s beneficiaries of various social schemes.


Difference between Aadhaar and PAN


  • Aadhaar number is a 12-digit random number issued by the UIDAI to the residents of India after satisfying the verification process laid down by the Authority.
  • Any individual, irrespective of age and gender, who is a resident of India, may voluntarily enrol to obtain Aadhaar number.
  • Person willing to enrol has to provide minimal demographic and biometric information during the enrolment process which is totally free of cost.

 Demographic information

  • Name, Date of Birth (verified) or Age (declared), Gender, Address, Mobile Number (optional) and Email ID (optional)

 Biometric information

  • Ten Fingerprints, Two Iris Scans, and Facial Photograph
  • An individual needs to enrol for Aadhaar only once and after de-duplication only one Aadhaarshall be generated, as the uniqueness is achieved through the process of demographic and biometric de-duplication.
  • Aadhaar number is devoid of any intelligence and does not profile people based on caste, religion, income, health and geography.
  • Aadhaar number is blocked on the death of the holder.
  • The Aadhaar number is a proof of identity, however, it does not confer any right of citizenship or domicile in respect of an Aadhaar number holder.
  • Aadhaar can be used as a permanent Financial Address and facilitates financial inclusion of the underprivileged and weaker sections of the society and is therefore a tool of distributive justice and equality.
  • The Aadhaar identity platform is one of the key pillars of the ‘Digital India’, wherein every resident of the country is provided with a unique identity.
  • The Aadhaar programme has already achieved several milestones and is by far the largest biometrics based identification system in the world.

 Resident Indians

  • To qualify as a resident Indian, an individual should have spent 182 days or more of a financial year in India, or stayed in India for 60 days or more in the year and for a period of 365 days or more in the 4 years preceding the relevant financial year.
  • If an individual does not satisfy any of the above conditions, she will be considered a non-resident in India.
  • The Aadhaar-Based Biometric Authentication (ABBA) system calls for the following technological necessities (which villages lack):
  • uninterrupted power supply,
  • a functioning electric point of sale (PoS) machine,
  • adequate mobile and Internet connectivity and
  • ensuring that data repository servers are running smoothly.

 Aadhaar Virtual ID (VID)

  • The Aadhaar Virtual ID (VID) is a temporary, revocable 16-digit random number mapped with the Aadhaar number.
  • The Aadhaar Virtual ID (VID) allows to authenticate transactions and e-know-your-customer (KYC) services instead of providing Aadhaar number.
  • One’s Aadhaar number cannot be derived from the VID that is generated.
  • The virtual ID can be used for the purpose of authentication in the same way the Aadhaar number is used.
  • Since this is a digital ID, Aadhaar holders can regenerate it multiple times, which makes it safer than providing the actual Aadhaar number.
  • At present, the VID is valid for a minimum of one day, which means an Aadhaar holder would be able to re-generate a new VID a day after he has generated the first one.
  • Further, there is no expiry period defined yet for the VID and it will be valid till the time a new one is generated by the Aadhaar number holder.

Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)

  • It is a statutory authority established under the provisions of the Aadhaar Act, 2016 under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Prior to its establishment as a statutory authority, UIDAI was functioning as an attached office of the then Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog).
  • Later, the Government revised the Allocation of Business Rules to attach the UIDAI to the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DeitY) of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

 Cannot share Aadhaar data for crime probe

  • The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) asserted that use of Aadhaar biometric data for criminal investigation is not allowed under the Aadhaar Act.
  • The “very limited” exception to this, said UIDAI, is allowed under Section 33 of the Aadhaar Act, which permits use of or access to biometric data in cases involving national security, only after pre-authorisation by an oversight committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

 Baal Aadhaar

  • UIDAI has introduced a blue coloured ‘Baal Aadhaar’ card for children below the age of 5 years.
  • Blue coloured Aadhaar data does not include biometric information like fingerprints and iris scan.
  • It is not mandatory for children under 5 to get an Aadhaar card. However, it is needed for attending educational programmes overseas and availing of government scholarships.

 Permanent Account Number (PAN)

  • Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a code issued by the Department of Income Tax under the supervision of the Central Board of Direct Taxes.
  • It is a 10-digit number-and-alphabet combination and is unique to each individual.
  • The first ever such card was issued in 1964.
  • This number enables the department to monitor financial transactions of the holder.
  • It also helps the Income Tax department to keep track of the tax paid or evaded by an individual.
  • It is also issued to foreign nationals such as investors.
  • Minors can also obtain PAN card (Last year, a five-day-old Bihar girl became the youngest PAN card holder in the country).
  • It also serves as an identity proof.
  • The Income Tax Act permits one person to have only one PAN.
  • Fifth character of PAN represents the first character of the PAN holder’s last name/surname in case of an individual.
  • In case of non-individual PAN holders fifth character represents the first character of PAN holder’s name.


Context: WHO launched Snakebite envenoming


  • Snakebite envenoming is a potentially life-threatening disease that typically results from the injection of a mixture of different toxins (“venom”) following the bite of a venomous snake.

  • Envenoming can also be caused by having venom sprayed into the eyes by certain species of snakes that have the ability to spit venom as a defence measure.
  • Snake antivenoms are effective treatments to prevent or reverse most of the harmful effects of snakebite envenoming and are included in the WHO list of essential medicines.
  • Most deaths and serious consequences from snake bites are entirely preventable by making safe and effective antivenoms more widely available and accessible, and raising awareness on primary prevention among communities and health workers.

 What makes snakebite a “neglected tropical disease”?

  • There are four primary criteria that define an illness as a neglected tropical disease (NTD), and snakebite envenoming satisfies each of them:
  • First, there is a significant burden of mortality and morbidity (as detailed in the answer to question 1) – snakebite envenoming is a high-impact disease.
  • Secondly, a majority of incidents of snakebite occur in the world’s tropical and sub-tropical regions, and it particularly impacts the poor – snakebite is a tropical disease.
  • Thirdly, snakebite is amenable to treatment, as well as prevention – the impact of snakebite can be mitigated now if we make the effort to do so.
  • Finally, the overall level of investment in research addressing snakebite, from prevention to diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation, is exceptionally low in comparison to its impact – snakebite is a neglected disease.

 Which species of snakes are responsible?

  • In India, the “big four” species are the Indian cobra, the Russell’s viper, the Indian saw-scaled viper and the Indian krait.

 Other neglected tropical disease

  • Buruli ulcer
  • Chagas disease
  • Dengue and Chikungunya
  • Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)
  • Echinococcosis
  • Foodborne trematodiases
  • Human African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Leprosy (Hansen’s disease)
  • Lymphatic filariasis
  • Mycetoma, chromoblastomycosis and other deep mycoses
  • Onchocerciasis (river blindness)
  • Rabies
  • Scabies and other ectoparasites
  • Schistosomiasis
  • Soil-transmitted helminthiases
  • Snakebite envenoming
  • Taeniasis/Cysticercosis
  • Trachoma
  • Yaws (Endemic treponematoses)