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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 24th December 2018

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  • December 25, 2018
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Daily Current Affairs [IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam] – 24th December 2018

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Tsunami kills 200+ people in Indonesia

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and III – Geography; Natural Hazards; Disaster and disaster management

In news:

  • Tsunami struck the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra following a underwater landslide, believed to have been caused by the erupting Anak Krakatoa volcano.
  • Anak Krakatoa, an active volcano roughly halfway between Java and Sumatra, has been spewing ash and lava for months.

Important Value Additions

Tsunami is harbor wave which consists of a series of seismic waves which rise as high as 10m or more. They move inland, several hundred miles causing untold disaster.

Factors that lead to tsunami-genesis:

  • Earthquakes: Earthquake occurring beneath the sea-when thrust faults associated with convergent or destructive plate boundaries move abruptly, resulting in vertical water displacement.
  • Volcanic eruptions-80% happen within Pacific ocean’s “Ring of fire” where earthquakes and volcanoes are common. Volcanic eruptions can cause discharge of large amounts not energy in a small amount of time, this energy is in turn imparted to the water which causes tsunami.
  • Landslides: under ocean landslides can cause disequilibrium in the ocean water, which will move towards the shore as tsunami to regain isostasy.
  • Meteorites and nuclear explosions: both of them can use release of huge amounts of energy in a few seconds, which will cause the displacement of water.

Paika Rebellion

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Indian History; significant events, personalities, issues

In news:

  • PM Modi to issue Paika Rebellion Commemorative Stamp and Paika Rebellion Commemorative Coin

About Paika Rebellion

  • The Paika Rebellion, also called the Paika Bidroha, was an armed rebellion against the British East India Company’s rule in Odisha in 1817.
  • The Paikas rose in rebellion under their leader Bakshi Jagabandhu and, projecting Jagannath as the symbol of Odia unity, the rebellion quickly spread across most of Odisha before being ruthlessly put down by the company’s forces.
  • The Paikas were the traditional militia of Odisha. They served as warriors and were charged with policing functions during peacetime. The Paikas were organised into three ranks distinguished by their occupation and the weapons they wielded. These were the Paharis, the bearers of shields and the khanda sword, the Banuas who led distant expeditions and used matchlocks and the Dhenkiyas – archers who also performed different duties in Odisha armies.
  • With the conquest of Odisha by the East India Company in 1803 and the dethronement of the Raja of Khurda began the fall of the power and prestige of the Paikas.

Causes of Rebellion:

  • The Paika rebellion had several social, economic and political reasons.
  • The Paiks were alienated by the British regime, who took over the hereditary rent-free lands granted to them after the conquest of Khurda.
  • They were also subjected to extortion and oppression at the hands of the company government and its servants.
  • Had conciliatory measures been adopted towards the Paiks from the beginning, it is possible that they would have become a source of strength to the company rule in Odisha.
  • The extortionist land revenue policy of the company affected the peasants and the zamindars alike.
  • A source of much consternation for the common people was the rise in prices of salt due to taxes imposed on it by the new government.
  • The company also abolished the system of cowrie currency that had existed in Odisha prior to its conquest and required that taxes be paid in silver. This caused much popular hardship and discontent.
  • In 1804 the Raja of Khurda planned a rebellion against the British in alliance with the Paiks, but the plot was soon discovered and the Raja’s territory was confiscated.

Do you know?

  • The ‘Paika Bidroha’ (Paika rebellion) of 1817 will find a place in the history books as ‘the First War of Independence’ from the next academic session. Till now the Revolt of 1857 was called the First war of Independence.

PM to open Buddhist site museum at Lalitgiri in Odisha

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Indian Heritage and Culture, History

In news:

  • Lalitgiri – considered one of the earliest Buddhist settlements in Odisha
  • After excavations, ancient seals and inscriptions, relic caskets, stone pathways were found, which has been converted into a museum.
  • Excavations at Lalitgiri have yielded the remains of four monasteries, showing cultural continuity from the post-Mauryan period till the 13th century CE.

No rise in working women despite high literacy levels

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Social issue; Indian Economy and related issues

In news:

  • A rise in literacy levels among women has failed to translate into an increase in the number of working women due to a combination of socio-economic factors.
  • There is a rise in the percentage of women out of labour force between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016 across all levels of education and age-cohorts.
  • At the same time, the percentage of illiterate women out of the labour force too increased.
  • Despite one’s educational attainment there has been a decline in the incentive for women to participate in the labour force.

Do you know?

  • The gross enrolment ratio shows that there are equal numbers of boys and girls at secondary level and women remain in education longer.

Socio-economic factors that has led women out of the labour force

  • role education plays in marriage markets (importance of education for improving marital prospects)
  • social norms – higher prestige or social status is associated with families which keep their women out of the workforce
  • poor condition for educated women
  • quality of education

Government policies should focus on behavioural changes that make female employment more acceptable in the society, communication programmes on gender equality in secondary education to help students imbibe equitable gender norms as well as programmes that acknowledge child care as the responsibility of both parents.


Miscellaneous:

  • Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme – Odisha announced ₹10,000-crore KALIA scheme to address the agrarian crisis. The Odisha government has now decided to procure oil seeds and pulses with increased minimum support price.

(MAINS FOCUS)


WELFARE/ECONOMY

TOPIC:General studies 2 and 3 

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

Need of the hour: structured and stable income support policy for farmers

Introduction:

  • In our previous articles we had dealt about why farm loan waivers are not a suitable option to address the rural distress. (For more, refer – Avoid loan waivers)
  • Newly elected chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have all announced loan waivers within their promised time of 10 days. It may cost the state exchequers more than Rs 50,000 crore.
  • Opposition leaders have also challenged the prime minister to waive off loans of all farmers.

Do you know – How much is a pan-India loan waiver likely to cost?

  • Total outstanding credit to agriculture currently is likely to be around Rs 12-13 lakh crore.
  • It is not feasible to waive off all these loans, it will simply blow up the budget.
  • Therefore, considering just short-term crop loans (maximum limit of say Rs 2 lakh per farmer) and, only from nationalised banks and PACs, the total bill is not likely to settle below Rs 4 lakh crore, and may even touch around Rs 5 lakh crore.
  • In other words, it will cost anywhere between Rs 4 and 5 lakh crore, including states that have waived farm loans since 2017.

Do you know?

  • UPA government had announced mega loan waiver of Rs 71,680 crore in 2008.
  • As per the report of the CAG on Implementation of Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme (2013), the 2008 Mega Loan Waiver amounted to 20 per cent of total outstanding loans to agriculture in 2008, and actual disbursement was just Rs 52,516 crore over a period of four years.
  • Loan waiver is only a temporary relief, that too tilted towards larger farmers.
  • Institutional credit comprises about 64 per cent of total credit taken by all farmers, the remaining 36 per cent coming from non-institutional sources.
  • It is the large farmers who take a larger proportion of their credit from institutional sources.
  • The marginal farmers with holdings of less than one hectare, who constitute 68.5 per cent of the peasantry, actually take more than half of their loans from non-institutional sources at interest rates that range from 24-36 per cent, and sometimes even higher.

Better Alternative

  • Providing higher MSPs are market distorting.
  • The alternative is to think of a structured and stable income/investment support policy for farmers.
  • Improvised version of Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu scheme could serve as a starting point.

Telangana’s Rythu Bandhu scheme

  • Under this scheme, the government can give Rs 10,000/ha as investment support to cultivators.
  • Payments under this scheme could be inversely related to the holding size, making it more pro-small holders.
  • Farms can be geo-tagged to ensure that only those farmers get benefits who are cultivating land.
  • Land records will have to be upgraded to include tenants.

Conclusion:

In any case, if this scheme is implemented in over 20 crore hectares of gross cropped area of the country, it will cost about Rs 2 lakh crore per annum, which could be equally distributed between the Centre and the states.

The Centre should also include fertiliser subsidy into this and encourage states to transfer their power subsidy through this platform based on per hectare basis.

Such a policy can reach the largest number of farmers, be more equitable, the least market distorting, and predictable.

The costs are high, but so are the costs of food subsidy for consumers (Rs 1,69,000 crore). Striking the right balance between consumers and farmers is the need of the hour.

Connecting the dots:

  • Agrarian distress has become a serious challenge for the economy and has grave socio-political repercussions. Examine the factors that have led to this situation. Also discuss the measures taken by the government to address the same. Do loan waivers offer a sustainable solution to this problem? Critically analyse.

NATIONAL/INTERNAL SECURITY

TOPIC:General studies 2 and 3

  • Indian polity; Government laws and policies; Policy reforms
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
  • Challenges to internal security through communication networks
  • Security issues

1984 anti-Sikh riots case and dealing with Genocide

In news:

  • The Delhi High Court recently sentenced Congress leader Sajjan Kumar to life imprisonment in a case pertaining to the killing of five member of a Sikh family during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
  • The judgment delivered by Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel showed that “Neither ‘crimes against humanity’ nor ‘genocide’ is part of our domestic law of crime. This loophole needs to be addressed urgently.”

Dealing with mass killings

  • India has witnessed many mass crimes since its partition to mass killings in Mumbai in 1993, in Gujarat in 2002, in Kandhamal, Odisha in 2008, in Muzaffarnagar in UP in 2013, to name a few.
  • All these “mass crimes were the targeting of minorities and the attacks spearheaded by the dominant political actors being facilitated by the law enforcement agencies” and the “criminals responsible for the mass crimes have enjoyed political patronage and managed to evade prosecution and punishment”.

Preventing Genocide

  • India signed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on December 8, 1949 (ratified on August 27, 1959).
  • The above international law binds Indian state to prevent, punish acts of genocide. As does Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Article V of the Convention obligates all contracting parties “to enact, in accordance with their respective constitutions, the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention and to provide effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide.”
  • And by Article 1 the “Contracting parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish”.

Genocide cannot be a lone wolf crime; it has to be the work of many hands and minds working in concert and with a clear and specific intention to physically annihilate a whole group of people. Yet, howsoever much human rights activists may wish for it, cultural genocide is not yet a category of the law of genocide.                                                                                 – Upendra Baxi

Do you know?

  • International Court of Justice (in 2007) ruled that states may also commit genocide.
  • Acts of mass exodus or deportation, or measures of birth control by the state, may be regarded as genocidal acts and is a part of Genocide Convention.
  • ICJ maintained that what distinguishes genocide from other crimes is the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such”.
  • John Heieck, author of book ‘A Duty to Prevent Genocide: Due Diligence Obligations Among the P5’ has argued that – If necessary the five permanent members of the UN Security Council may have a duty to intervene even by military means and the rule by veto may be suspended in situations of genocide.

Conclusion

  • Article 51 [C] of the Indian Constitution casts a duty to “foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another.”
  • The duties to prevent and punish acts of genocide, reiterated by the ICJ, are binding on India, both as an aspect of conventional and customary international law; they are also an integral aspect of Article 21, the rights to life and liberty as interpreted and innovated by the apex court.
  • State’s duty to prevent and punish crimes against humanity remains as great and grave.

Connecting the dots:

  • Growing mass crimes against humanity or genocide needs reforms in our existing laws and legal procedures. Do you agree? Critically examine.
  • What are the differences between the legal terms “crimes against humanity” and “genocide”?

(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 about ‘Paika Rebellion’

  1. It was led by Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar.
  2. It took place when the British East India company wrested the rent-free land that had been given to the Paiks for their military service to the Kingdom of Khurda.

Select the correct statements

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about landslide:

  1. Landslide is mass movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope
  2. Reasons for landslides are steep slope, earthquake, volcanic disturbances, rainfall etc
  3. Landslides can generate tsunamis.

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 and 3
  2. 2 and 3
  3. None of the above
  4. All of the above

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Tsunami

  1. The speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave.
  2. These are generated by high magnitude earthquakes in the ocean floors or violent under sea volcanic eruptions or by massive undersea landslides.

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

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

Q.4) Which one of the following statements regarding Tsunami is NOT correct?

  1. It often generates strong waves.
  2. The Pacific coasts are most vulnerable to Tsunami waves.
  3. Tsunami waves are also called high-energy tidal waves or seismic sea waves.
  4. Tsunami is a Latin word.

Q.5) Lalitgiri – considered one of the earliest Buddhist settlements is located in –

  1. West Bengal
  2. Tamil Nadu
  3. Karnataka
  4. Odisha

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