IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 29th December 2017
Bill criminalizing triple talaq passed in LS
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
· The Lok Sabha passed by voice vote the Bill that makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence, with a jail term of up to three years.
· The proposed law would be applicable to the entire country, except in Jammu and Kashmir.
· It would make instant talaq punishable and would be a cognisable, non-bailable offence.
· Government’s take- The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2017 — will act as a deterrent since there have been 100 cases of triple talaq even after the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court delivered in August this year.
· 22 Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh, had regulated instant triple talaq, there was no effective law in India till now.
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Gaming disorder: A mental health condition
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
- With more and more youngsters getting hooked on video games, both online and offline, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is set to classify gaming disorder as a mental health condition next year.
- Mental health experts and psychiatrists said this is the need of the hour as nearly 7% of population studied for gaming and internet addiction exhibited symptoms of depression and anxiety, and somatisation, including behavioural changes and sleep disturbances.
- Although gaming disorder is affecting a small population now, it is likely to be a major mental health problem in the coming years. Especially, in the wake of Blue Whale and other such dangerous games, there is a need for parents to monitor their child’s activities.
- Addictive use of Internet has an adverse effect in the form of irregular dietary habits and physical problems. It is also associated with insomnia, sleep apnea and nightmares.
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India largest producer of milk in the world
Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints.
- During the past three years, India has outpaced the global milk production with an annual growth rate of 5.53% compared with the 2.09% achieved globally.
- India has been the largest producer of milk in the world for the past 15 years.
- Milk production, which was around 17-22 million tonnes in the 1960s, has increased to 163.7 million tonnes in 2016-17.
- Per capita availability of milk has increased from 307 grams in 2013-14 to 351 grams in the year 2016-17.
To meet future challenges, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DAHDF) is working on a National Action Plan Vision 2022, where along with enhancing the outreach of dairy cooperatives to additional villages and milk producers, suitable provisions are being made to build additional milk processing infrastructure.
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General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
General Studies 3:
- Mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment
- Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
Aerospace & Defence Manufacturing: Sunrise sectors
Aerospace and defence manufacturing are the sunrise sectors for today.
At upwards of $50 billion, India has one of the largest defence budgets in the world. By 2018, it is expected to be in the vicinity of $56 billion.
In the commercial aviation sector, India remains one of the highest traffic growth markets. It is estimated to become the third-largest aviation market in the world by 2025, and will likely need nearly 1,500 new commercial aircraft by 2030.
A drive towards globalization of the aerospace supply chain has been fuelled by the lowering of trade barriers, decreasing communication and transport costs, the emergence of global service firms and shortage of skilled labour in home markets.
- The sector which has the potential to generate vast amounts of jobs and revenue.
- Policymakers put in place measures such as tax breaks to encourage these sectors.
In the past, information technology (IT) and biotechnology (BT) were the two most prominent holders of the sunrise-sector tag.
Creating a large base of domestic defence manufacturing:
The government is well aware that timely execution of the modernization plan hinges on creating a large base of domestic manufacturing. The government has introduced the long-awaited strategic partnership model.
- It will allow partnerships with overseas companies to manufacture everything from submarines to fighter jets in India.
- It also opens the doors for Indian companies to form joint ventures with multinational original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for defence production.
This model has the potential to create a high-tech defence manufacturing ecosystem.
That, in turn, will help in the emergence of cutting-edge mid-sized ancillary companies, along the lines of German mittelstand firms that are relatively small but best-in-class.
Indian manufacturers that offer high-quality and innovative solutions at a low cost could become the preferred suppliers for global firms.
Following are key challenges companies face in the aerospace and defence (A&D) sector:
- Access to technology and talent. It has high technological requirements.
- Building scale in a business that is extremely capital-intensive. Costly raw materials along with a prolonged gestation period.
- The enabling infrastructure and policy environment which can be clubbed together as what is known as the ease-of-doing-business basket.
- Skilled labour requirements, and the procurement of parts from multiple manufacturers.
- Manufacturers in Europe and North America have multiple decades of head start over the Indian aerospace industry. India cannot close that gap overnight.
Strong collaboration between the government, which would be the biggest customer, and the private sector, can help close the gap faster.
Infrastructure plays a critical role in building an A&D manufacturing base. It requires all stakeholders to think in terms of creating the right ecosystem.
The automobile manufacturing sector benefited from having ancillary hubs around large car plants located in Gurugram, Chennai and Pune.
- The government would do well to encourage the creation of A&D hubs too.
- Creating clusters helps micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that supply components and sub-assemblies to large manufacturers.
The long gestation period and capital intensity often create entry barriers for SMEs in this sector. Vibrant clusters would make it easy for companies to have access to talent and create synergies on logistics.
Telangana is home to the country’s first public aerospace and precision engineering special economic zone (SEZ). Karnataka too is setting up similar facilities.
- What is required in an ideal ecosystem is the setting up of facilities which cater to multiple stages of the supply chain, all in one location. Such manufacturing hubs should ideally allow companies to carry out fabrication, machining, forging, warehousing and a whole lot more in one place.
The target is to create an integrated aerospace ecosystem which enables customers to source all their requirements from one place to hasten the time-to-market.
Fulfilling skilled labor requirements:
Since the industry needs a skilled talent pool for this highly specialized industry, the creation of educational institutions and universities by the government that are tailor-made for the A&D sector, will go a long way in making India a preferred manufacturing destination.
While there has been a sea change in the government’s attitude towards private companies in the A&D sector, the defence public sector undertakings, which hitherto held a monopoly, view the private sector as competition. If seen as partners and collaborators instead, the benefits for the nation could be transformative.
Connecting the dots:
- What do you mean by the term ‘sunrise sectors’? Aerospace and defence manufacturing are the sunrise sectors for today. Discuss.
- Aerospace and defence manufacturing sector has huge scope for growth both in terms of revenues and providing job opportunities. In this light it is important that the government create a right policy environment for them. Discuss.
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Expanding ‘good’ green cover in India
The Centre is not ready with the rules to implement the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016. This demonstrates that the government’s resolve to meet a variety of environmental objectives, including major commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals, remains woefully weak.
- Diversion of forests for non-forest use seems inevitable to some degree due to developmental activities and biotic pressures.
Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016, seeks to remedy this loss through disbursal of national and State funds for carrying out afforestation projects.
- While 40,000 crores have already been accumulated for compensatory projects, the rules for the implementation of the act haven’t been drafted yet.
Is compensation justifiable or enough?
- It is debatable if compensation is a sound remedy for loss of rich forests.
Case study- About 13,000 hectares were compensated in the Sardar Sarovar Dam project, but only with patchy outcomes: healthy monoculture plantations having low biodiversity value came up in some places, while others resulted in unhealthy plantations with few trees.
- Replacing a natural forest with a plantation does not really serve the cause of nature, wildlife, or the forest-dwelling communities who depend on it, because of the sheer loss of biodiversity.
- Diversion of forests for non-forest use seems inevitable to some degree. Thus to maintain biodiversity, it is necessary to make an assessment of suitable lands, preferably contiguous with protected areas that can be turned over for management to a joint apparatus consisting of forest department staff and scientific experts.
- Putting in place a scientific national plan to expand good green cover is essential, since the sequestration of carbon through sustainably managed forests is a key component of the commitment made under the Paris Agreement.
There is already a Green India Mission, which is distinct from the framework envisaged for compensatory afforestation.
- The Centre needs to enable independent audit of all connected programmes, in order to sensibly deploy the financial resources now available.
There is immense potential to augment the services of forests through a careful choice of plants and trees under the afforestation programme. All this can make a beginning only with the actualisation of the law passed in 2016.
- The method used to calculate the net present value(NPV) of forests, taking into account all ecosystem services they provide, is far from perfect, as many scientists point out.
This needs to be seen. NPV calculation must be scientifically credible.
The momentum for compensatory afforestation has come from judicial directives but now the government should give a foundation of rules to the law passes in 2016. A scientific national plan to expand good green cover is absolutely essential.
Connecting the dots:
- A major governance challenge in India is poor implementation of robust laws. Critically analyze.
- A scientific national plan to expand good green cover is absolutely essential in India. Discuss.
- Discuss the issues with Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016.
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