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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 15th December 2018

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  • December 15, 2018
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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 15th December 2018

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Jammu & Kashmir legislation to stop ‘sextortion’ of women

Part of: GS Mains II – Social/Welfare issue; Women violence issue

In news:

  • J&K has become the first State in the country to bring a law to prevent people in power from exploiting subordinates sexually.
  • Governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration in Jammu & Kashmir approved an amendment to the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), to insert a section to provide for the offence of “sextortion.”
  • The new law explicitly bans sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship, or a public servant.
  • Terming the offence as “Sextortion”, the amendments will “bring sextortion at par with similar offences prescribed under the Ranbir Penal Code and amendment is being made in the Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and to provide that demand for sexual favours would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of Section 5.”

10 die after taking temple ‘prasadam’

Part of: GS prelims and Mains II – Health and social issue

In news:

  • At least 10 people died and over 60 were hospitalised after consuming ‘prasadam’ distributed at a temple in Karnataka.

Do you know?

  • The FSSAI had set a deadline of September 1, 2019 for temples to start following the regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act of India 2006, as well as the Food Safety (Licensing and Registration) Rules. (Food safety @Temples)
  • The food safety commissioner said that every temple has to secure a licence or registration in order to sell ‘prasadam’ through temple counters.
  • Temple authorities have to ensure that the storerooms and temple areas where food is cooked maintain hygiene standards under Food Safety and Standards Act.
  • Also the water used for cooking it should be safe and must be tested periodically and the certificate on water safety kept for perusal.

How Food Safety Management System can ensure quality Prasad?

  • By Standardizing prasad ingredients and manufacturing process to improve its shelf-life and safety
  • Vendors to be trained in food safety, hygiene; persuaded to apply for licence
  • By encouraging self-audit to ensure that ingredients used in prasad are safe
  • Food handlers to be trained in good manufacturing practices; to be educated about personal hygiene and using protective clothing, such as aprons, gloves
  • By introducing rotational system for food stock to ensure first-expired-first-out; strengthening documentation and record keeping so that the stock can be traced
  • Mandating management of wastes, such as flowers, fruits and vegetables, in such a way that they do not affect food safety

Sri Lanka political crisis

Part of: GS Mains II – International Affairs

In news:

  • We know that a constitutional crisis began in Sri Lanka when President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly sacked then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Rajapaksa.
  • Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister before formally dismissing the incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe, resulting in two concurrent prime ministers.
  • Wickremesinghe and the United National Party (UNP) viewed the appointment as illegal, and he refused to resign.

Role of Judiciary

  • Political crisis in the island nation ended.
  • Mahinda Rajapaksa decided to “step down” after the Supreme Court refused to stay an earlier appeal court order restraining him and his purported Cabinet from functioning in office.
  • Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court took firm stand and ruled dissolution of Parliament unconstitutional.
  • Mr. Rajapaksa’s resignation may pave the way for the installation of a government that enjoys a majority in Parliament.

Miscellaneous:

INS Sunayna

  • INS Sunayna, Navy’s offshore patrol vessel, has been deployed in the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy patrols.
  • The vigilance exercised by the Navy ships reiterates “India’s commitment towards ensuring safe seas for Indian as well as international seafarers in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)”.
  • International effort to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the East Coast of Somalia involves participation of many countries such as India, China, Japan, United States, Russia and Pakistan and the European Union nations.

AGRICULTURE/ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Agriculture and Impact of Climate Change
  • International organisations and reports on climate change and its mitigation
  • Environment and climate change
  • Workforce in Indian economy and Agriculture

Impact of Global warming on Agriculture: Farming in a warming world

Introduction:

  • The impact of climatic change and associated socio-economic vulnerability are now widely recognised and experienced across the globe.
  • The Sixth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on “Global Warming at 1.5°C” distinctly propagates the need to strengthen and enhance existing coping capacity and to remain committed to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

IPCC 6th Assessment Report: Highlights

  • World has become 1°C warmer because of human activities
  • It has caused greater frequency of extremes and obstruction to the normal functioning of ecosystems.
  • If world had become 2°C warmer, a catastrophic situation would have created.

Impact of Climate Change and Global Warming on Agriculture Sector

According to the report,

  • India, with its diverse agro-climatic settings, is one of the most vulnerable countries.
  • Indigenous populations and local communities dependent on agricultural or coastal livelihoods are very vulnerable to the climate impacts.
  • Its agriculture ecosystem, distinguished by high monsoon dependence, and with 85% small and marginal landholdings, is highly sensitive to weather abnormalities.

The Nation has already witnessed less than normal rainfall during the last four years, with 2014 and 2015 declared as drought years.

Even the recent monsoon season ended with a rainfall deficit of 9%, which was just short of drought conditions.

Research is also confirming an escalation in heat waves, in turn affecting crops, aquatic systems and livestock. (Lancet report warns about heatwave exposure surge)

The Economic Survey 2017-18 has estimated farm income losses between 15% and 18% on average, which could rise to 20%-25% for unirrigated areas without any policy interventions.

These projections underline the need for strategic change in dealing with climate change in agriculture.

Steps needed:

Foster the process of climate adaptation in agriculture which involves reshaping responses across both the micro- and macro-level decision-making culture.

At the micro-level,

  1. By providing effective climate assessments and promoting climate resilient technologies.
  2. Climate exposure can be reduced through agronomic management practices such as inter and multiple cropping and crop-rotation; shift to non-farm activities; insurance covers; up-scaling techniques such as solar pumps, drip irrigation and sprinklers.
  3. Very small segment of agricultural households utilised crop insurance due to a lack of sufficient awareness and knowledge. Hence there is an urgent need to educate farmers, reorient Krishi Vigyan Kendras and other grass-root organisations with specific and more funds about climate change and risk-coping measures.

At the macro-level,

  1. Climate adaptation actions are to be mainstreamed in the current developmental framework and closely intertwined with rural developmental interventions.
  2. Effective systematic adaptation planning and resource conservation practices.
  3. Identification of several barriers that prevent up-scaling efforts and adaptation by farmers.

Key interventions

  1. Expansion of extension facilities, improving irrigation efficiency, promotion of satellite-enabled agriculture risk management, creating micro-level agro-advisories, providing customised real time data, and capacity building of stakeholders are some initiatives towards building greater resilience in agriculture.
  2. Interventions such as the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, Soil Heath Card, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, National Agriculture Market, or e-NAM, and other rural development programmes are positive interventions that can address the vulnerability of farmers and rural households.
  3. Climate and adaptation schemes such as the National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), the National Adaptation Fund, and the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC).

Connecting the dots:

  • How does climate change and global warming affect the agricultural sector in India? Also suggest some key interventions and steps to be taken in this regard.

WELFARE/ECONOMY

TOPIC:

General studies 3

  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

General Studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Avoid loan waivers

Introduction:

  • The below article assesses why farm loan waivers are not a suitable option to address the rural distress.
  • With ‘rural distress’ likely being the single most important poll issue in the coming general election, the political response to it is may be to announce a holistic or selective farm loan waivers.

Why farm loan waivers worst solution for rural crisis?

According to RBI data –

  • The share of loans (of less than ₹2 lakh), typically taken by small farmers, accounts for less than 40 per cent of total farm credit.
  • About 13 per cent of total agri credit was made up by loans of ₹1 crore or more.
  • Crop loans disbursed to agriculturists leave out tenant farmers. The rise of tenant farming among small and marginal farmers also coincides with growing fragmentation of land.
  • In addition, most of these cheap loans, taken at 4 per cent interest rate, are availed of by owners of warehouses, food processors and manufacturers of fertiliser and farm equipment.
  • Categories under ‘Priority sector lending’ have been relaxed over the years to include a range of above mentioned sundry commercial activities. (thanks to the powerful interest groups in rural India who tend to ensure that such loans are categorised under ‘priority sector’ lending)

Crux – Loan waivers will merely end up aiding these interest groups.

We all know that,

  • In India’s hierarchical rural order, the disadvantaged are unable to access insurance, welfare and loan schemes managed by multiple agencies.
  • Most of these schemes are manipulated by landed interests in collusion with government and bank officials.
  • Therefore, given it makes sense to shift to direct income support for farmers as a major form of agrarian intervention (rather than loan waivers).
  • Bankers and the Reserve Bank (RBI) have often expressed concern that debt waivers can wreck credit culture.

Do you know?

  • Telangana has shown the way with its Rythu Bandhu scheme, and reaped handsome political dividends.
  • The State has allocated ₹12,000 crore this financial year for the transfer of ₹8,000 per acre over two crop seasons to an estimated 58.33 lakh farmers.
  • Under this scheme, farmers will directly get financial support twice every year to maximise agricultural production and productivity. They will get investment support of Rs 8,000 per acre every year (Rs. 4000 each for monsoon and Rabi season) as crop investment support.

Conclusion:

  • The farmers’ agitation and other political forces must take a cue from this development.
  • Rural India needs better markets and market access, infrastructure and, above all, policies that recognise socio-economic inequities.

Connecting the dots:


(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 with respect to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  1. It is established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  2. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is administrative ministry for the implementation of FSSAI

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

Q.2) The Gulf of Aden, the extension of the Indian Ocean located between Africa and Asia forms a natural sea link between:

  1. Red Sea and Suez Canal
  2. Red Sea and Arabian Sea
  3. Suez Canal and Arabian Sea
  4. Persian Gulf and Red Sea

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Gulf of Aden

  1. It is located between Yemen and Somalia
  2. Bab-el-Mandeb connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden

Select the correct statements

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

Q.4) The ‘Horn of Africa’ is bordered with which of the following water bodies?

  1. Red Sea
  2. Gulf of Guinea
  3. Gulf of Aden

Select the correct code:

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

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