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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 6th July 2018

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  • July 6, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 6th July 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


Legalising Gambling?

Part of: GS Mains II – Polity and governance

In news:

Law Commission of India (headed by Supreme Court judge B.S. Chauhan) report to the government –

  • Allow gambling in sports but regulate it.
  • Since it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option left is to “regulate” gambling in sports.
  • Recommended “cashless” gambling in sports as a means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling.
  • Revenue from gambling should be taxable under laws such as the Income Tax Act and the Goods and Services Tax Act.
  • Suggested that the revenue generated can be used for public welfare measures.
  • Transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards so that the government could keep an eye on them.
  • According to the Commission, foreign exchange management and foreign direct investment laws and policies should be amended to encourage investment in the casino/online gaming industry. This would propel tourism and employment.
  • The Commission said regulations should protect vulnerable groups, minors and those below the poverty line, those who draw their sustenance from social welfare measures, subsidies and Jan Dhan account-holders from exploitation through gambling.

 

Pic link: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/07/06/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_01/76bf3bf4_2224597_101_mr.jpg

Article link: Allow gambling in sports but regulate it, says law panel


National Park in news: Bhitarkanika National Park

Part of: Prelims – Environment and Biodiversity; Animal Conservation; Mapping

Key points:

  • Bhitarkanika National Park in Odisha
  • The Bhitarkanika National Park is one of the largest habitats of endangered estuarine crocodiles in the country .
  • It is a prominent heronry (breeding ground for migratory birds) of the State.

About Saltwater crocodile

  • The saltwater crocodile, also known as the estuarine crocodile,  is the largest of all living reptiles, as well as the largest riparian predator in the world.
  • As its name implies, this species of crocodile can live in marine environments, but usually resides in saline and brackish mangrove swamps, estuaries, deltas, lagoons, and lower stretches of rivers. They have the broadest distribution of any modern crocodile, ranging from the eastern coast of India throughout most of Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
  • IUCN status: Least Concerned

Human Space Flight Programme (HSP): success of PAT

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space Missions

In news:

  • In previous article we read that – ISRO is developing its ambitious Human Space Flight Programme (HSP).
  • Since the ISRO does not have a human-rated launch vehicle or the budget from the government to undertake such a flight, it will not happen before 2024. Mission will be carried out on board a home-grown GSLV-III rocket.
  • ISRO succeeded in conducting the first ‘pad abort’ test (PAT)
  • PAT is crew escape system and with its success ISRO is a small step closer to sending Indians to space.
  • Pad Abort Test [PAT] is for safe recovery of the crew in case of any exigency at the launch pad and are necessary for a future manned mission.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/07/06/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_07/8a3af5bd_2224608_101_mr.jpg


Create leprosy awareness: SC

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health and Social issue

Leprosy on rise:

  • India earned an honourable mention in a new WHO report on neglected tropical diseases (NTD), it is also one of the handful of countries around the world that have shown an increase in leprosy cases.
  • The number of leprosy cases in India went up from 1,25,785 to 1,27,326 between 2014 and 2015.

About Leprosy:

  • Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, an acid-fast, rod-shaped bacillus.
  • The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes.
  • Leprosy is curable and treatment in the early stages can prevent disability.
  • Leprosy is curable with multidrug therapy (MDT).
  • Leprosy is transmitted via droplets, from the nose and mouth, during close and frequent contacts with untreated cases.

In news:

  • Recently, Supreme Court directed the government to create awareness that leprosy is curable and not contagious.
  • SC ordered All India Radio and Doordarshan to air programmes nationally as well as regionally in the States.
  • Persons suffering from leprosy deserved the empathy from authorities as well as the society at large. They deserved to be treated with equality.

National Leprosy Eradication Programme

  • It is a centrally sponsored Health Scheme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India with the objective to arrest the disease activity in all the known cases of leprosy through early diagnosis and treatment.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNAL SECURITY

TOPIC: General Studies 3:

  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks.
  • Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Tackling Lynching

Introduction:

India has witnessed killing of over 27 people in 15 cases of lynchings by frenzied mobs blinded by viral rumours of child-kidnappers on the prowl across nine states — from Assam to Tamil Nadu — in the last one year.

The Central government has finally moved to react to the lynchings reported from across the length and breadth of the country, but its line of action is bafflingly weak.

  • With over 200 million active WhatsApp users in India, the country seems to have a serious problem with the spread of fake news, and nothing is being done about it.
  • On the contrary, India told Facebook-owned WhatsApp to take “immediate action” after a spate of these horrific lynchings sparked by false rumours was shared on the messaging service.

Unfortunately, we cannot blame a messaging app which is used worldwide, if the government itself fails to address the issues which are largely at play in the country.

Why political messaging and administrative alerts are key to stopping the string of lynchings?

  1. WhatsApp alone cannot stop the lynchings. It is not clear how such a platform can take measures to limit the spread of motivated or sensational messages. Also, whether such checks would amount to legitimising surveillance and a loss of privacy — a rare commodity in this digital age.
  2. Even if it can do so without compromising privacy, the problem is not the medium. Rumour has historically found its way around communication walls, and it can only be effectively blocked through old-fashioned information campaigns and administrative alertness.
  3. Rumour’s potency predates mobile phones, even if there is no denying that smartphones, with their ability to instantly transmit text and images, have a tendency, in this era of fake news, to rapidly spread panic and anger. (One such example was unrelated video of an act of violence that went viral was responsible for fuelling communal hatred in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.)

Concerns:

It is puzzling that district administrations and gram panchayats have not been asked to reach out to locals to persuade them against falling for rumours, and to come to the authorities if they have any fears.

One more key finding is that the proximity or distance of police from the scene of the crime doesn’t make a difference.

In all 27 killings, the nearest station was 2-20 km from the spot — on an average, within 10 km. Yet, police were unable to reach in time. In the handful of cases that they did, they were heavily outnumbered. Clearly, the rumour and the mob moves faster than the police.

Conclusion:

WhatsApp in India can do everything it can, but at the end, it is the responsibility of the government to find a solution and stop the spread of fake messages. New rules need to be implemented and the police in the country need better tools to cope with false content being spread as well.

India needs to take this up as a challenge and find a solution, as soon as possible. The messaging needs to be amplified — merely appealing to WhatsApp is hardly the solution.

Connecting the dots:

  • Mob violence and lynching are emerging as a serious law and order problem in India. By giving suitable example, analyze the causes and consequences of such violence.
  • The State’s legitimacy to govern is at risk with increase in incidents like lynching and mob violence. Discuss.
  • A draft anti-lynching law has been proposed. Discuss the need of such a law and apprehensions associated with the provisions of the draft law. Further also analyze how making law would not be enough, an effective enforcement machinery is the need of the hour.

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

Current India’s Foreign Policy status

Introduction:

For India, it is very vital to maintain equilibrium with the U.S., China, Russia, the European Union and members of the ASEAN.

  • With U.S., China, Russia – because, they carry geostrategic heft, with the U.S. still being the number one outside power balancer in almost every region of the world.
  • With EU and ASEAN, as they two are economic powerhouses.

India needs all of them, not one at the cost of the other.

Losing its eminent position

India has lost its eminent position in South Asia as a consequence of reckless adventurism in its neighbourhood.

  • Today, the neighbourhood is bending towards China, with India looking on like a hapless bystander.
  • For instance, India’s monopoly over geopolitics in Nepal is over, and there is another relationship that Nepal is nurturing.
  • Even in Afghanistan, where the attention of what remains of the ‘Western Alliance’ is focussed, India is a non-player.
  • (We can consider the case of Sri Lanka and Maldives too)

India has also lost its pre-eminent position in the developing world as a consequence of its wilful abandonment of the leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and other such institutions of the postcolonial world order. (PM Modi obtusely skipped NAM in 2016)

Background:

India emerged as the natural leader of the newly liberated nations emerging from the ravages of imperialism and neocolonialism in the late 1940s and early ’50s, a position it maintained with great care and perseverance even after the collapse of the Soviet Union when strategic thinkers were characterising the victory of the West as the end of history.

The below article examines the cardinal errors one by one –

India’s strained relations

  • Neither during the Obama years nor during the current term of Trump administration has a single “big” idea emerged that could take the India-U.S. relationship forward.
  • India has failed to clearly understand the Donald Trump phenomenon and India does not fit into the calculus of Trump’s new paradigm.

The mimicry of Mr. Modi by Mr. Trump, the snub on the ‘2+2’ dialogue, and U.S. envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s aggressive speech on Iran should therefore come as no surprise.

NDA government had also failed to foster good ties with Russia and China.

  • Russia holding anti-terror exercises with Pakistan in DRUZBA-2017
  • the ill-conceived boycott of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in 2017 invited the wrath of China via the Doklam standoff
  • Prime Minister had to travel to Wuhan and Sochi to effectively pay ‘court’ to Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, respectively.

The worst casualty has, however, been India’s neighbourhood. In the past four years, the BJP government has swung from the sublime to the ridiculous on Pakistan, blockaded Nepal for not declaring itself as a Hindu Rashtra, lost Sri Lanka to the Chinese, been belittled by the Maldives and even Seychelles. Europe, Africa, Latin and South America have fallen off the map.

The list is interminable. India’s foreign policy is up a creek without a paddle.

Arguments in favour of present government under PM Modi

Under PM Modi, India’s foreign policy has been on an upward trajectory.

Country’s stature has grown significantly due to his leadership in the foreign policymaking process and charismatic role as India’s diplomat number one.

PM’s vision is to turn India into a leading power and a net provider of security and prosperity.

  • India is now widely acknowledged as an actor living up to its true potential, reflecting the aspirations of contemporary Indians.
  • Two areas where Indian foreign policy has leapfrogged under Mr. Modi are cultural and commercial diplomacy.
  • Well-thought-out policy reforms and emotional engagements with the Indian diaspora have added a force multiplier to nation’s soft power.
  • By tapping into the transnational Hindu and Buddhist civilisational linkages and harnessing them for strategic benefits in our extended neighbourhood, Mr. Modi has reified India’s image as a repository of ancient wisdom that generates global public goods.
  • Record levels of inward FDI flows and improvements in a range of global ranking indices bear testament to Mr. Modi’s success in economic diplomacy.

In geopolitics, Mr. Modi has made decisive choices –

  • He has broken free of taboos that restrained India from capitalising on closer defence and strategic cooperation with the U.S., Japan and Israel.
  • Casting aside the obsolete concept of non-alignment and entering into deeper circumstantial partnerships to expand India’s geostrategic footprint are no minor accomplishments.
  • India is working its way to becoming a third power centre in the world alongside the U.S. and China. India under Modi also challenged the U.S. whenever it has hampered Indian interests through trade barriers and economic sanctions.

Challenges:

India is facing a unique combination of diplomatic, security and strategic challenges today.

  • The growing economic, defence and strategic partnership with the U.S. is being questioned on account of the transactional nature of the Trump administration, its unreasonable trade demands, its focus on other issues such as North Korea, and its sanctions related to Iran and Russia that are unmindful of India’s interests and costs.
  • India’s hitherto reliable and largest defence partner, Russia, is becoming increasingly enmeshed with China and Pakistan.
  • India’s neighbours, including the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, are exploiting new opportunities to leverage their possibilities with China vis-à-vis India.

The picture is complicated. There are strong sui generis challenges and headwinds, requiring course modulation and adaptation.

Conclusion:

Foreign policymaking always faces challenges in an evolving world. India will also need to strengthen itself further economically and in its defence capacity, including in technology and production. It will also need to improve its capacity for implementation of agreed upon cooperation projects.

Connecting the dots:

  • What is your assessment of the foreign policy being pursued by the Indian government? Do you perceive any ideological shift? Examine.
  • Discuss the paradigm shift in India’s foreign policy with reference to the changes brought by the new government.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

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

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Leprosy

  1. It is a viral infection
  2. Loss of sensations over the affected skin is a typical feature associated with skin patches caused due to leprosy

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Which of the following statements are correct regarding Leprosy?

  1. The disease mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract, and the eyes.
  2. A cure for leprosy is still not discovered and once infected a person can’t be treated.
  3. Leprosy is communicable and can be transmitted by droplets from nose and mouth.

Select the code from below:

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Bhitarkanika National Park

  1. It is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  2. It is unique in being a swamp with floating vegetation

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) The salt-water crocodile is found along the:

  1. Eastern coast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Western coast and Lakshadweep islands
  3. Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Khambhat along with some areas near Gulf of Mannar
  4. All the Above

Q.5) Consider the following statements regarding Bhitarkanika National Park

  1. It is surrounded by Gahirmatha Beach
  2. It is known for salt water crocodiles
  3. It is located in the mouth of Mahanadi Delta

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

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