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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 30th May 2018

  • IASbaba
  • May 30, 2018
  • 10
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 30th May 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


The Praapti Web Portal

Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Infrastructure

Key pointers:

  • In a bid to rein in errant distribution companies (discoms) that delay payments to power generation companies, the Power Ministry has launched the Praapti web portal.
  • ‘Praapti’ stands for ‘Payment ratification and analysis in power procurement for bringing transparency in involving of generators’.
  • This portal will help power distribution companies be apprised of invoicing by generators and also bring transparency in their payments to them. The power distribution companies can clear the invoices and reply to claims raised by the generators on this portal.
  • The portal will also compare and rank State discoms on outstanding bills and the frequency of clearing them.

‘Green’ cricket in India

Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Environment, conservation

Key pointers:

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India and UN Environment signed an agreement to ‘green’ cricket in India
  • The initiative aims to reduce cricket’s environmental impact by greening operations and engaging fans and cricketers in green initiatives.  
  • The partnership aims to spread greater awareness about key environmental challenges facing the country and highlight alternate and more sustainable solutions.
  • The partnership will also focus on phasing out single-use plastic across stadiums and cricket events in the country.

#BeatPlasticPollution:

  • As global host of World Environment Day in 2018, India is leading the global charge to #BeatPlasticPollution in the country, and around the world.
  • It is estimated that the world uses 10 million plastic bags every minute, and much of ends up in our oceans and landfills and is ingested by marine animals and wildlife.

Global Wind Energy Summit

Part of: Mains GS Paper III- Environment, conservation

Key pointers:

  • The first edition of the Global Wind Summit will be held in Hamburg, Germany in September, 2018.
  • The conference on wind is the largest and most important meeting of the wind industry worldwide.
  • The event will provide a platform for experts from across the globe to discuss innovative and green technologies for harnessing wind energy making.
  • The focus of the conferences would be on three major subjects. Dynamic markets, cost efficiency and smart energy.
  • India is fourth largest country — after China, the US and Germany — in terms of wind energy installation capacity at around 33 GW. The government has set a target of achieving 60 GW by 2022.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC:General Studies 2:

  • India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

India-Indonesia: Re-engagment

Historical background:

Despite their proximity, physical and cultural, the strategic distance between Delhi and Jakarta has been incredibly vast. Barring a brief moment in the mid 20th century, when anti-colonial solidarity brought them together, modern India and Indonesia have barely figured in each other’s mental maps.

  • The Bandung conference was held in April 1955. After Bandung, India turned its back on Asia and focused on the non-aligned movement. Jakarta moved towards the minor variant of Asianism in South East Asia.
  • Intense friendship between Delhi and Jakarta turned into mild hostility in the early 1960s. After that the two sides settled down to an extended period of mutual neglect. A variety of internal, regional and global political developments widened the political gulf between India and Indonesia.

Transforming relationship:

  • There is an increasing self-awareness in Delhi and Jakarta of their growing regional and international weight. India and Indonesia are slowly but surely breaking out of the foreign policy mindsets shaped for long by non-alignment.
  • The new maritime impulse is shaping the worldview of Delhi and Jakarta amidst an extraordinary power shift in Asia and its waters.
  • At the heart of this transformation is the change in their economic weight.
    With its GDP at $2.6 trillion, India is the fifth largest economy in nominal terms and the third biggest in PPP.
    Indonesia’s GDP has crossed the one trillion-dollar mark last year.
    As its potential for a larger regional and global role comes into view, Jakarta is looking to complement the centrality of ASEAN with a larger vision of the Indo-Pacific, a geopolitical construct that India too has adopted.
  • Both of them have begun to rediscover their long-neglected maritime destiny. Prolonged inward economic orientation and border disputes in the north west and the north meant India had no time for its seas in the 20th century. After two-and-a-half decades of reform that has globalised the Indian economy, Delhi is paying more attention to maritime issues.
  • With thousands of islands, Indonesia is a massive archipelagic nation. But Jakarta until recently saw no reason to think maritime. The benign external environment secured by the United States meant Jakarta could devote most of its energies on internal territorial consolidation.
    Now, as the Asian waters open up to great power contestation, Jakarta can no longer remain sea blind. A little over three years ago, President Jokowi unveiled the ambition to turn Indonesia into a “global maritime fulcrum” by taking advantage of its special geographic position as the land bridge and sea link between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

China, the common concern:

The Indonesian government has offered to grant India access to its Sabang port for the development of the port and an economic zone.
Located at the mouth of the strategically important Strait of Malacca, Sabang is only 100 nautical miles from the southern tip of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
India and Indonesia share multiple common concerns, one of which is China’s growing maritime footprint in the eastern Indian Ocean.
Sabang, with its naval base, naval air station, and maintenance and repair facilities, has the potential to serve as the focal point of a budding strategic partnership between the two countries.

Maritime cooperation: Areas of engagement

  • Information sharing on white shipping, and enabling India to partner Indonesia in tracking commercial cargo ships at choke points such as Malacca which are getting increasingly congested.
  • In the past, cooperation between India and Indonesia has been limited to anti-piracy patrols, search and rescue exercises and joint hydrographic exploration. It is important for the two countries to move to a more concerted and intensive engagement.
  • India should leverage this opportunity and seek its inclusion in the Malacca Strait Patrols programme. India’s inclusion in the programme would augment India’s existing maritime domain awareness in the region, while the eyes-in-the-sky component will allow India to jointly patrol the region with its maritime surveillance aircraft.
  • Chinese presence in the SLOCs is well known, and India’s ability to monitor Chinese naval movements in the locale will be a great boost to the Indian Navy’s security missions.
  • A strategic confluence needs an economic direction.
    The development of the port and economic zone in Sabang can serve as blueprint for a connectivity partnership between the two nations, and more importantly, provide an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
    The proposed cruise tourism circuit between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Sabang would further enhance such economic linkages.
  • A partnership that includes collaboration in defence industries and maritime training and education can ensure a dynamic maritime collaboration.

An opportunity:

  • India needs to supplement efforts in Jakarta and leverage its existing strategic relations with Singapore and other like-minded regional states if it is to cement its position as a ‘net security provider’ in the Indian Ocean.
  • A closer logistical partnership with countries such as Singapore, Australia and Indonesia can be the starting point of an extensive strategic linkage that will help establish India as a regional provider of maritime security.

Conclusion:

The time has come for India to realise the potential of a strategic alignment with the archipelagic state that is geo-politically positioned at the centre of the Indo-Pacific, and an upgrade in maritime relations is the logical way forward.

Connecting the dots:

  • A more concerted and intensive engagement will serve both India and Indonesia well especially with regards to maritime cooperation. Comment.

ECONOMY

TOPIC:

General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

General Studies 2:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana: An assessment

Introduction:

The Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), one of the flagship schemes of the present government, was launched in August 2014.
The ‘J’ in JDY is the ‘J’ in ‘JAM’ (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) through which the Economic Survey of 2015 claimed that “every tear from every eye” could be wiped.
A critical evaluation of the scheme is in order.

Background:

The recently released World Bank Global Findex data show that 80% of Indian adults now have a bank account, which is being celebrated as the success of the JDY.
While the increase in the proportion of adults having bank accounts is indeed impressive (80% in 2017 from 53% in 2014), 48% of those who have an account in a financial institution made no withdrawal or deposit in the past one year.

An analysis:

  • Financial inclusion is not just about opening bank accounts, but also about using these accounts and providing access to formal credit. In fact, the major limitation of the JDY has been that while it has managed to get many people to open bank accounts, there is no commensurate increase in the use of these accounts, availability of formal credit, or savings in financial institutions, especially among the country’s marginalised and poorer sections.
  • Access to formal credit:
    As per various data and surveys, there is no sign of increased access to formal credit that the PMJDY is supposed to have ensured for its beneficiaries.
    Poor households in India, in the absence of access to formal credit, have to deal with moneylenders who charge exorbitant rates of interest. This is one of their biggest worries.
    The Household Survey on India’s Citizen Environment and Consumer Economy, 2016 shows that while for the top 1% of the population, one in six are exposed to informal credit, within the poorest section of the population, the figure is four times as high, with two in three taking credit from informal sources.
    Access to bank accounts seems to have had little effect on their dependence on private money lenders.

Conclusion:

The precarious conditions of indebtedness that poor people find themselves in has little signs of abating as a result of the JDY. Thus, more efforts needs to be made in this direction.

Connecting the dots:

  • PMJY has failed to promote financial inclusion. Critically analyze.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Q.1) Which of the following statements is/are true regarding the agreement to ‘green’ cricket in India?

  1. It has been signed between the BCCI and UN Environment.
  2. The initiative aims to reduce cricket’s environmental impact by greening operations and engaging fans and cricketers in green initiatives.  
  3. The partnership will also focus on phasing out single-use plastic across stadiums and cricket events in the country.

Select the correct option

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None of the above

Q.2) The Praapti web portal is related to which of the following:

Select the correct option

  1. Power sector
  2. Women Empowerment
  3. Law and order
  4. None of the above

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