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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs [Prelims + Mains Focus] – 23rd November 2018

  • IASbaba
  • November 24, 2018
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains

Focus)- 23rd November 2018

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


India, Pak. commit to Kartarpur corridor

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and its neighbours; International Relations

In news:

  • India and Pakistan agreed to build the Kartarpur Sahib corridor for Sikh pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur (Pakistan)
  • Both the countries exchanged letters committing to build the required infrastructure for visa-free direct travel by Sikh pilgrims to Pakistan’s Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara.
  • November 2019 marks 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev

Do you know?

  • India had first proposed the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in 1999 when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore.

Gurdwara in Kartarpur

  • The gurdwara in Kartarpur is located on the bank of river Ravi in Pakistan
  • It is about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine, and about 120 km northeast of Lahore
  • It was here that Guru Nanak assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539
  • The shrine is visible from the Indian side, as Pakistani authorities generally trim the elephant grass that would otherwise obstruct the view
  • Indian Sikhs gather in large numbers for darshan from the Indian side, and binoculars are installed at Gurdwara Dera Baba Nanak
  • The gurdwara was opened to pilgrims after repairs and restoration in 1999, and Sikh jathas have been visiting the shrine regularly ever since
  • Sikh jathas from India travel to Pakistan on four occasions every year- for Baishakhi, the martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Dev, the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/11/23/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_01/88722918_2544650_101_mr.jpg


9th round of City Gas Distribution(CGD)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Government schemes and policies; Environment and Ecology; Pollution

In news:

  • Prime Minister laid the foundation stone to mark the commencement of work for 9th round of City Gas Distribution(CGD).
  • Major aim is to move towards a gas based economy and promote the usage of environment friendly clean fuel i.e. natural gas as a fuel/feedstock across the country.
  • Presently the share of gas in the country’s energy mix is just over 6% and the aim is to reach the 15% figure, while the world average is 24%.

Do you know?

  • The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has initiated the process of new CGD bidding round covering 124 districts in 14 States to increase the potential coverage to about 53% of the country’s area covering 70% of country’s population.
  • CGD will help in supporting governments various clean energy initiatives of the Union Government like Ethanol Blending, Compressed Biogas plants, increased LPG coverage and introduction of BS-6 fuels for automobiles.

Atmosphere and Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS) and National Facility for Airborne Research (NFAR)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Government schemes and policies; Environment and Ecology; Pollution

In news:

  • The Government has approved continuation of the nine sub-schemes of the umbrella scheme “Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)” during 2017-2020.
  • The scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • ACROSS scheme pertains to the atmospheric science programs of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and addresses different aspects of weather and climate services, which includes warnings for cyclone, storm surges, heat waves, thunderstorms etc.
  • The ACROSS scheme consists of nine sub-programmes which are multi disciplinary and multi institutional in nature and will be implemented in an integrated manner through IMD, HIM, NCMRWF and INCOIS.

Government has also approved establishment of National Facility for Airborne Research (NFAR).

  • The  scheme  will   provide  improved  weather,   climate  and   ocean   forecast  and services, thereby ensuring transfer of commensurate benefits to the various services like Public weather service, disaster management, Agro-meteorological Services, Aviation services, Environmental monitoring services, Hydro-meteorological services, climate services, tourism, pilgrimage, power generation, water management, Sports & adventure etc.

(MAINS FOCUS)


AGRICULTURE

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Agriculture and related issues
  • Infrastructure: irrigation facilities
  • Disaster management

Drought warning

Introduction

After two years of relatively good rains, large parts of Maharashtra (especially the Marathwada region and the adjoining districts of Jalgaon, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Sholapur, Amravati and Yavatmal), North Gujarat, Saurashtra, Kutch and North Karnataka are reeling under drought.

Farmers’ distress this year

  • What is different this time is that it has been induced by the southwest monsoon’s failure in the second half of the season.
  • The rains were, in fact, quite good in most of these areas during June-July. The monsoon’s timely arrival led to the area sown under kharif crops being more or less normal.
  • Farmers were, however, caught unaware by the extended dry spell from August, when their already planted crops were in the late vegetative growth stage.
  • These farmers are in no position to plant a rabi crop; there’s hardly any soil and subsoil moisture left to allow that.
  • What would worry them more is providing water and fodder to their cattle and buffaloes.
  • Farmers already burdened by successive years of low crop realisations and the more recent spike in the cost of diesel, fertiliser and pesticides.

Drought: When, and how, does a state govt declare one?

While the word ‘drought’ usually brings to mind a period of unusually dry weather, crop damage and water supply shortages, there are guidelines in place for a state government for declaring a drought in a state or area.

A manual published by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2016 suggests a three-step approach.

  • The first step is to look at two mandatory indicators — rainfall deviation and dry spell.
  • Depending on the extent of deviation, and whether or not there is a dry spell, the manual specifies various situations that may or may not be considered a drought trigger.
  • The second step is to look at four impact indicators — agriculture, vegetation indices based on remote sensing, soil moisture, and hydrology.
  • Each impact can be assessed on the basis of various indices.
  • If all three chosen indicators are in the ‘severe’ category, it amounts to severe drought; and if two of the three chosen impact indicators are in the ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ class, it amounts to moderate drought.
  • The third step comes in after both previous triggers have been set off.
  • States will conduct sample survey for ground truthing, in order to make a final determination of drought.
  • The finding of field verification exercise will be the final basis for judging the intensity of drought as ‘severe’ or ‘moderate’.
  • Once a drought is determined, the state government needs to issue a notification specifying the geographical extent. The notification is valid for six months, unless de-notified earlier.

Way forward

  • For the governments at the Centre and in the concerned states, the most sensible option is to act fast.
  • Maharashtra has claimed that more than half of its talukas are already facing “drought-like” conditions.
  • There is no reason to delay sending Central teams to ascertain the ground situation and officially declare drought.
  • Rabi season drought may be a somewhat rare phenomenon, but its impact on crop production and supply of water and fodder is no less, extending to the following summer.
  • Preparation for starting fodder camps, taking up MGNREGA works or making direct benefit transfers to the most vulnerable families should start sooner than later.

Connecting the dots:

  • How drought is declared in a state? Briefly explain the procedure. What are the reasons behind frequent droughts in comparatively more developed states of Maharashtra and Gujarat?

NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  •  Elections: various types of voting system

The Maine example: The preferential voting system

Introduction

The recently concluded mid-term elections in the U.S. received a lot of attention as the opposition Democrats managed to decisively bring about a “blue wave” to capture the House of Representatives.

The preferential voting system

  • The electoral system used exclusively in Maine in House polls features not just a choice of the candidates, but also a preferential ranking of them.
  • A voter can choose just one candidate, but also rank candidates in an order of preference.
  • If a candidate wins 50% of the mandate plus one vote, she is declared the winner. But if the candidate falls short of this threshold, the candidates are ranked again based on their second choices. And if this still falls below the threshold, the contest moves on to the third round, and so on.
  • Nobel laureate Amartya Sen had lauded the preferential voting system before it was implemented in Maine, as the ordered voting allows for a true majority choice to emerge, both in the form of the candidate chosen as well as the reflection of the views of the majority, unlike the simple first-past-the-post (FPTP) system.

First-past-the-post (FPTP) system

  • In the FPTP system, the leading candidate can win an election despite winning a minority of the votes.
  • This happened in the U.S. in 2016, when Donald Trump won the presidency despite winning less than 50% of the vote, thanks largely due to the nature of the electoral college, but also due to third candidates acting as spoilers in several seats in swing States.
  • India too follows an FPTP system. In several States with a high number of effective parties in particular (U.P. and Bihar, for instance), parties which secure less than 50% of the vote tend to win substantive majorities.
  • In the past, this was mitigated at the Central level by the need for coalitions — even if the leading party in the election fell short in vote share terms, it had to get the support of regional parties to go past the halfway mark in seat terms. This rendered the system a truly representative one.
  • In 2014, however, the NDA won the majority of seats despite a vote share of only 38.5% and little accretion of outside support after the election.

Conclusion

Even if the preferential voting system is more complicated than the FPTP system, it is worth considering as a just alternative in the longer term.

Connecting the dots:

  • The preferential voting system ensures a truly representative winner. Critically examine the suitability of this voting system in India.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)

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

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara:

  1. This corridor was firstly proposed by Pakistan in 2015.
  2. Pilgrimages between India and Pakistan are governed by the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Consider the below statements about Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS) scheme:

  1. The scheme will provide improved weather, climate and ocean forecast and services.
  2. It will be implemented by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) under Ministry of Home Affairs.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct?

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

Q.3) First Past the post system (FPPS) of election system is currently in use in India. Which of the following statements are correct regarding FPPS?

  1. A candidate who first crosses more than 50% of votes wins the election.
  2. This process is used in Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly and Presidential elections in India.

Select the code from following:

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

Q.4) Consider the following statements with reference to the systems of election

  1. Every constituency elects one representative
  2. Voters Vote for a Party
  3. Voters vote for a Candidate
  4. Every party gets seats in the legislature in proportion to the percentage of votes it secures
  5. Candidate who wins the election may not secure majority of the votes cast

Which of the above statement/s is/are not a feature of Proportional System of election?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1, 2 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2 and 5 only

Q.5) Which among the following is not true in regard to First Past the Post (FPTP) system and Proportional Representation (PR) system?

  1. In India all key representatives, except President and Vice President are elected via FPTP system.
  2. FPTP allows voters to choose between people rather than between parties.
  3. PR ensures that smaller parties get representation in the legislature
  4. PR encourages new parties to emerge and more women and minorities to contest for political power.

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