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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 19th December 2018

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  • December 19, 2018
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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 19th December 2018

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Child protection policy

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social/Welfare issue; Government policies and interventions and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

In news:

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development has drafted child protection policy
  • Move comes in the wake of Muzaffarpur home case

Do you know?

The draft Child protection policy contains the following important provisions –

  1. It recommends that all organisations must have a code of conduct based on “zero tolerance of child abuse and exploitation”.
  2. It requires organisations to lay down that employees don’t use language or behaviour that is “inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate”.
  3. Recommends employees of all organisations to sign a declaration agreeing to ensure the safety of children.
  4. Institutions should also designate a staff member to ensure that procedures are in place to ensure the protection of children as well as to report any abuse. Any individual who suspects physical, sexual or emotional abuse must report it to the helpline number 1098, police or a child welfare committee.

How is this Policy different from National Child Policy, 2013?

  • Child Protection Policy will be the first policy dedicated to the protection of children, an area that until now was only a part of the broader National Child Policy, 2013.
  • Unlike the National Child Policy, 2013, the latest document doesn’t talk about children who may need special protection: including those affected by migration, communal or sectarian violence, children forced into begging or in conflict with the law, and those infected with HIV/AIDS.
  • It also doesn’t talk about the role of the State for ensuring the protection of child rights or addressing local grievances.

Role of NGT over illegal extraction of groundwater

Part of: GS Mains II and III – Role of Tribunal or NGT; Environment and Ecology

In news:

  • NGT had rapped the Central Ground Water Authority for failing to curb illegal extraction of groundwater and directed the Ministry to notify a policy by December 18.
  • Following which, the Union Water Resources Ministry issued a notification pertaining to groundwater extraction.
  • However, NGT said the notification was against “national interest”.

Fast recap:

  • We already read that – Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has notified a water conservation fee (WCF).
  • Industries will need to pay on groundwater extraction starting from June 2019.
  • Industries extracting groundwater, including mining-dewatering units and those that use groundwater for packaged drinking water, will need to apply for a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the government.
  • Individual households that draw groundwater using a delivery pipe of a greater than 1” diameter, too, will need to pay a WCF.
  • However, the agriculture sector — the largest consumer of groundwater in the country — will be exempt from the fees.

NGT views:

  • According to NGT, merely imposing a cost is not enough to curb groundwater extraction.
  • It added that a detailed order including the directions should be uploaded by January 11.

Simplification of the Goods and Services Tax

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and related issues

In news:

  • PM Modi has hinted at further simplification of the Goods and Services Tax.
  • The current government wants to ensure that 99% items attract sub-18% GST slab.
  • According to the PM, GST implementation has removed contradictions in the trade market and efficiency of system is improving. The economy is also getting transparent.

Miscellaneous

  1. India-US Defence ties : : India brought C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift and C-130J Hercules from the U.S.
  2. Bogibeel bridge in Assam : : India’s longest rail-road bridge to be inaugurated by PM Modi on Christmas Day.
  3. Indigenous communities of Assam : : Ahoms, Chutias, Deuri and Mising (These communities were in news for their row over naming of Bogibeel bridge in Assam. Different communities want bridge to be named after their community leaders.)
  4. U.S. military to have a ‘Space Command’ : : U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the creation of “Space Command”, a new organisational structure within the Pentagon that will have overall control of military space operations. Mr. Trump’s goal is to build an entirely new branch of the military called “Space Force”. (Also read – Gearing up for space wars)

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Why India needs dedicated Techplomacy?

Introduction:

  • There were allegations that the technological advances in mid-19th century (especially with the advent of cable) will lead to end of diplomacy. However, it did not end diplomacy; but they forever changed the way it was conducted.
  • Today, with the world witnessing more sweeping technological revolution, governments are finding new ways to adapt. New technology requires new approaches, encapsulated by the phrase ‘Digital Diplomacy’.
  • Whether it is in using the social media to influence public opinion at home and abroad, conducting espionage on other states, securing one’s critical infrastructure against foreign interference, setting terms for cross-border data flows, governing the internet, countering terrorism, or preventing the militarisation of Artificial Intelligence, all major governments are reorganising their diplomatic mechanisms.

Do you know?

  • To enhance the effectiveness of its voice in the new domain, France appointed a full time “digital ambassador” in 2017.
  • Denmark has set up offices of “TechPlomacy” in Silicon Valley, Copenhagen and Beijing.
  • The French and Danish digital ambassadors deal with other governments, also technology giants like Google, Facebook and Alibaba and Huawei.

Why India should review and reorganise its technology diplomacy?

  • Technology has now become a driving force shaping the world. For instance, the influence of companies such as Google, IBM, Apple and Microsoft is now so great that their economic strength and impact exceeds that of many nation states.
  • Increasing global complexity has led to nation states holding less importance, and private sector giants becoming more high-profile.
  • TechPlomacy is needed to build strong ties with these tech giants as these firms open doors to new jobs; they collect a lot of data, and they can also help nations in their fight against terror by “taking down accounts as soon as possible.
  • It will help to check the power of technology giants and to engage in traditional diplomatic work with such companies and other key tech stakeholders.
  • TechPlomacy will help government support and create the best conditions for the digital era.
  • A tech ambassador will reconcile his/her country’s national interests.

Conclusion:

Diplomacy today is fast changing due to an increasingly globalised and complex world.

First, social media is acting as a powerful tool that is helping to “influence on a massive scale” and enabling more open, democratic and inclusive diplomacy. Further, technology is creating more informal lines of communication, and enabling a new generation of ‘citizen diplomats’.

Second, diplomats need to consider the implications of artificial intelligence and automation. TechPlomacy will help create the right global institutions to realise the potential, and manage the threats.

Connecting the dots:

  • World needs TechPlomacy alongside diplomacy. Do you agree? Elucidate.

INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

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

India-Maldives ties: Restoring the balance

Introduction:

  • India-Maldives ties strengthened after the Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s three-day visit to India this week.
  • This is Mr. Solih’s first overseas visit after becoming the President of the Indian Ocean nation of 400,000 people.

Do you know?

  • India and Maldives ties were low during previous President (Abdulla Yameen) regime. Mr. Yameen had drawn the Maldives closer to China.
  • Under Mr. Yameen, the Maldives welcomed Chinese money for major infrastructure projects and signed a controversial free trade agreement (FTA). India’s entreaties for political moderation and closer security ties were summarily ignored.
  • President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih surprise victory in the Maldivian presidential elections has recalibrated his country’s ties with India.
  • Solih’s victory represents the collective aspirations of the people for democracy, the rule of law and a prosperous future.

Recent ties

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Solih as the President of Maldives in November. (His first visit to the nation as Prime Minister and the first by an Indian head of state since 2011).
  2. India desires “to see a stable, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Republic of Maldives”.
  3. Solih called India the island nation’s “closest friend” and “reaffirmed his government’s ‘India-First’ Policy”, committing to working together closely with India.
  4. India announced a financial assistance package of $1.4 billion for the Maldives in the form of budgetary support, currency swap agreements and concessional lines of credit.
  5. On security front, both the countries consolidated cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). They have agreed to strengthen maritime security cooperation in the IOR through coordinated patrol and aerial surveillance.
  6. Both the nations to attempt to boost trade ties. Areas such fisheries development, tourism, transportation, connectivity, health, education, information technology, new and renewable energy and communications were earmarked for enhancing bilateral cooperation.

Conclusion:

  • India’s patient handling of the Maldives crisis over the last few years has positioned it well.
  • Maldives would need the support of India as its challenges remain acute. Challenges such as growing threat of Islamist extremism, Governance issues, growing concerns about the money the Maldives owes to China for infrastructure projects etc.
  • The more India invest in strengthening democratic institutions in its neighbourhood, the better returns it will get in its foreign policy.

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) India has brought C-17 Globemaster from the US. What is C-17 Globemaster?

  1. It is a large military transport aircraft
  2. It is a largest military helicopter
  3. It is a missile launch system
  4. It is an aircraft career

Q.2) Consider the following statements with reference to the Goods and Services Tax

  1. It is an umbrella tax which will subsume all the direct taxes.
  2. GST will eliminate the cascading of taxes and will make taxation simpler

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 or 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements about ‘C-17 Globemaster’

  1. It is an aircraft by Lockheed Martin
  2. It is used to perform strategic airlift missions, transporting troops and cargo throughout the world
  3. It is inducted in the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy

Select the INCORRECT statements

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

Q.4) Bogibeel bridge, India’s longest rail-road bridge to be inaugurated by PM Modi on Christmas Day is over –

  1. Ganga river
  2. Brahmaputra river
  3. Sabarmati river
  4. Subansiri river

Q.5) Ahoms, Chutias, Deuri and Mising were in news recently. They are –

  1. Indigenous communities of Assam
  2. Indigenous communities of North-East India
  3. Tribal communities of West Bengal
  4. Particularly vulnerable tribal group of North-East India

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