IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 05th October 2018
“Digi Yatra” facility
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Infrastructure; Role of Digital Technology
- The government unveiled the Digi Yatra initiative under which the flyers can soon use facial recognition technology to enter the airport.
- Travellers can skip long queues and zip through various check points at airports.
- Digi Yatra initiative also has biometric-enabled digital processing technique that would enable travellers to enter the airport building by scanning a QR code on their mobile phones, after undergoing facial recognition.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian economy and issues related to it
- The bears continue to tighten their grip on the markets, and the BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty both opened with heavy losses.
Below are some of the factors that are spurring on market volatility:
- Fall in the rupee
- Surging oil prices
- Rising bond yields
- Foreign capital outflows – Overseas investors pulling out
- Highly fragile investor sentiment
Rohingya handed over to Myanmar
Part of: GS Mains II and III – International relations and Internal Security; India and its neighbours; Refugee issues
- Seven Rohingya Muslim men, arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Assam, were officially handed over to Myanmar authorities at Manipur’s border town Moreh.
- The Centre told the Supreme Court that the action to repatriate the seven Rohingya Muslims was taken in due course of law and in the interest of the country.
- The Assam government had made the arrangements for their repatriation through an immigration check point in Manipur.
Saudi Arabia to invest in oil refinery in Gwadar
Part of: GS Mains II and III – International relations
- Saudi Arabia to invest in a new oil refinery in Pakistan’s growing deep-sea port of Gwadar
- Gwadar’s port is being developed as part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an ambitious plan to build energy and transport links connecting the western Chinese region of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea via Pakistan, as part of Beijing’s broader Belt and Road initiative.
- Gwadar is part of Pakistan’s mineral rich southwestern Balochistan province.
India ranked 5th in pictorial warning on tobacco products
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health issue
- India has been ranked fifth in the listing of countries that have pictorial health warning on tobacco products. à (According to ‘the Cigarette Package Health Warnings: International Status Report’, released recently by the Canadian Cancer Society)
- Country is making tremendous progress towards creating public awareness on the health hazards of tobacco abuse.
- The current pictorial warnings on both sides of all packets of cigarettes, bidis and all forms of chewing tobacco products in India came into effect in April 2016 on the direction of the Rajasthan High Court and, subsequently, the Supreme Court of India.
Do you know?
- East Timor is ranked first with 85% of the front and 100% of the back of the packaging being used for pictorial warnings.
- Nepal follows with 90% coverage on both sides.
- Indian packaging has the warning on 85% of both sides.
- The report found that 118 countries and territories have now made picture health warnings on cigarette packages mandatory, up from 100 in 2016.
- Canada was the first to insist on picture health warnings in 2001.
- India is the only SAARC country to have a Quit-Line number on tobacco products and the fourth in Asia after Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.
- Government of India for the first time introduced Quit-Line number to be printed on all tobacco products.
TOPIC: General Studies 3
- Environment protection and Bio diversity conservation
- National parks, wild life sanctuaries, etc.
Next steps at Gir: On deaths of lions
- The magnificent Asiatic lion is under threat. Twenty-three lions have died in as many days in the eastern part of Gujarat’s Gir sanctuary.
- Preliminary reports said that the cats have been killed by disease, most likely to be infectious. Some others have died due to poisoning and infighting.
- While mass mortalities in wildlife are always a cause for concern, this case is even more worrisome as the big cat population in Gujarat is the last of the Asiatic lions in the wild.
- In 2013, the Supreme Court had issued an order that lions from Gujarat be relocated to the Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as a check against the threat of epidemic.
- The Supreme Court, noting that the death of so many lions was a serious matter, asked the Central government to look into it.
Why SC asked for relocation?
- Asiatic lion has been restricted to only one single habitat, i.e. the Gir National Forest and its surrounding areas and an outbreak of possible epidemic or natural calamity might wipe off the entire species.
- A smaller population with limited genetic strength are more vulnerable to diseases and other catastrophes in comparison to large and widespread population.
- 30% of the lion population in Tanzania’s Serengeti was killed due to an outbreak of canine distemper, a viral disease that affects animals.
Why relocation not done yet?
- Gujarat’s response to this was that lions are now spread over the Greater Gir region and this reduces the threat.
- It has also had an intense, managerial response to the disease — when ill, lions are routinely picked up, medically treated, and then released.
- Even wild animals are subject to State politics. Gujarat has been unwilling to part with its lions, calling them “its pride” in an affidavit.
Debate: natural or artificial conservation?
- Wildlife conservation concerns itself with maintaining ecological processes and reducing threats to endangered species.
- It does not entail treating wild animals for disease (in the way domestic animals are) as this can go against the processes of natural selection.
- Treating wild animals appears to be a caring thing to do. But it is not conducive to the ‘natural’ process of life and death, and ultimately compromises immunity.
- Another celebrity example of this kind of management was Machli, the tigress from Ranthambhore in Rajasthan. Known as the world’s most photographed tigress.
- She lived for 20 years before her death in 2016. This is because she was treated medically, and often fed artificially.
- When wild animals go extinct locally, they are reintroduced — as in the case of tigers in Sariska, Rajasthan.
- When hungry, they are fed artificially, and even provided salts as supplements, an example being the Hangul (Red deer) population in Dachigam, Jammu and Kashmir.
- In other parts of India, wild animals are funnelled through artificial trenches, barriers and fences.
- This is wildlife conservation in the age of man, where protected areas sometimes resemble zoos.
- Yet even the most flexible of conservationists would agree that intensive artificial medical treatment of wild animals does not augur well for long-term sustainability.
- The role of wildlife managers should be to reduce unnatural threats, not unnaturally prolong life.
- While Gujarat has done a good job of conserving its lions, it should also turn its attention to reducing the drivers of disease, which includes controlling feral dog populations.
- Gujarat submitted before the Supreme Court that one of the reasons it did not want to part with the lions was because there are metapopulations in the State.
- Metapopulations may be geographically separate but have interactions and an exchange of individuals.
- Gujarat had said to the Supreme Court that the current Asiatic lion population is not a single population confined to one place. It consists of “metapopulation” spread over several locations within the Greater Gir Region.
- Crucially though, these areas are connected to each other and this does not address the main concern of creating geographically distant populations.
- Gujarat should work towards colonising new habitats outside the Gir landscape within the State. However, there are spatial limitations in this industrialised State.
- An option is the Barda wildlife sanctuary. But Barda is close to Gir, and this cannot be confused with creating isolated populations. It would simply mean increasing suitable lion range from its present, much smaller area.
- There is no getting around the fact that a geographically separate population of Asiatic lions needs to be created.
- A good track record for lion conservation does not in any way preclude a good long-term strategy.
Connecting the dots:
- The recent lion deaths in Gir sanctuary are more worrisome as the big cat population in Gujarat is the last of the Asiatic lions in the wild. What are the possible steps you would suggest for conservation of Asiatic lion population?
TOPIC: General Studies 3
- Agriculture and issues related to it
- Indian economy
Fields of concern — on MSP for kharif crops
- The government approved an increase in the MSP offered for rabi crops.
- The latest hikes are generous, even if they are moderate compared to those fixed for the kharif crop.
- The hikes were announced a day after thousands of angry farmers descended on New Delhi, stopped only by the use of water cannons and teargas.
- This is the latest in a long string of instances that signals the existence of underlying agrarian distress.
- By way of comparison, the highest increase over the previous kharif season’s MSP was 52.5% for the cereal ragi.
- Now the highest season-on-season hike for the rabi crops is 20.6% for safflower.
- The MSP for wheat has been raised 6.1%, or ₹105 a quintal.
- For mustard, gram and masur dal, the increases are between 5% and 5.3%.
- The government says that with these prices, it has delivered on its promise that farmers will get a price at least 150% above their cost of production, and that their incomes will be doubled over time.
- It is not merely the lack of adequate prices for farm output that has led to restiveness — the rise in costs of inputs such as fertilizers and diesel is also a reason for this.
- India’s farm sector has multiple stress points, and ground-level procurement often does not take place at stipulated support prices.
- Barring paddy and, to a lesser extent, wheat, the MSP formula doesn’t work for most crops in the absence of substantial direct procurement by the government.
- Market prices for cotton are currently close to the MSP, but this is largely because of traders betting that export demand will rise due to the U.S.-China trade war.
- A robust mechanism that actually helps farmers get the declared MSP for a crop is being pursued through a price deficiency payment scheme and a private procurement plan.
- This mechanism is still in a nascent stage and is not adequate.
- There needs to be a holistic reboot of the agriculture sector, particularly to address the restrictive trading policies and excessive government interventions that deter productivity enhancements.
Connecting the dots:
- Higher minimum support prices often do not translate into better returns for farmers. Elucidate.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Chabahar Port is considered to be of utmost strategic importance for India. Which of the statements are correct regarding Chabahar Port?
- It is being developed by India in Afghanistan.
- Once the Chabahar Port is operational, India can bypass Pakistan to reach Central Asian Market.
- India is also developing 500 km railway link connecting Chabahar to Zahedan (Iran – Afghanistan border).
Select the code from below:
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Q.2) Consider the following:
- Gwadar port is the only port in Iran that has the direct access to ocean located in close proximity to Gulf of Oman
- The Gwadar port will help India to bypass Pakistan and open up a route to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia
- With Gwadar port India hopes to compete with the Chinese, who are building Chabahar port, in Pakistani Baluchistan.
Select the correct answer
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- None of the above
Q.3) Brent index is concerned with
- Eco-friendly status of processed foods
- Crude oil prices
- Energy efficiency status of electrical goods
- Gold future prices
Q.4) Which of the following activities have been prohibited by ‘The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products act 2003’?
- Smoking in all public places
- Direct and indirect advertisement
- Sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors
- Sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products within 100 yards of any educational institution.
Select the code from following:
- 1, 2 and 3
- 2, 3 and 4
- 1, 3 and 4
- All of the above
Q.5) Which of the following states has recently become the first state of the country to bar sellers from displaying tobacco products in the open?
- Madhya Pradesh
A manifesto of dissent
Eyes on India
Unjoined dots of a scheme
The price is wrong
Structural defects in the financial system and real economy
Testing times for Indian policymakers
Data privacy can aid innovation