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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th January 2019

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  • January 17, 2019
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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th January 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


10% reservation in all admissions for 2019-20

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Government schemes and programmes; Social/Welfare issue

In news:

  • The 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections in the general category will be implemented in all colleges and universities, including private institutions, from 2019-20.
  • This quota will be over and above the existing quotas for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes, which will also be implemented in private institutions.

Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II –Social/Welfare issue; Education reforms; Children issue

In news:

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 –

  • There has been some improvement in the reading and arithmetic skills of lower primary students in rural India over the last decade.
  • However, skills of Class VIII students have actually seen a decline.
  • More than half of Class VIII students cannot correctly solve a numerical division problem and more than a quarter of them cannot read a primary level text.
  • Enrolment is increasing and the percentage of children under 14 who are out of school is less than 4%.
  • The gender gap is also shrinking.

Conclusion

  • Without strong foundational skills, it is difficult for children to cope with what is expected of them in the upper primary grades.
  • A majority of children need immediate help in acquiring foundational skills in literacy and numeracy.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/01/17/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_09/62bc6b72_2669478_101_mr.jpg

About Annual Status of Education Report (ASER)

  • It is a yearly survey that NGO Pratham has been carrying out since 2006.
  • The ASER survey covered almost 5.5 lakh children between the ages of 3 and 16 in 596 rural districts across the country.

Tobacco companies are targeting children: study

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II –Social/Welfare issue; Health reforms; Children issue

In news:

According to a recent report ‘Tiny Targets’(conducted by Consumer Voice and Voluntary Health Association of India)

  • Tobacco companies in India are systematically targeting children as young as eight by selling tobacco products and placing tobacco advertisements near schools.
  • These tactics, happening all over the country, clearly violate the Section 5 and 6 of Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act.
  • Despite the prohibition on sales of tobacco products near educational institutions, numerous shops/vendors/points of sale sell and advertise tobacco products around schools.
  • The tobacco industry must be held accountable for their aggressive advertising efforts around schools.

Important Value Additions:

  • In India, tobacco is the cause of about one million deaths annually.
  • India implemented larger 85% pictorial health warnings on all tobacco products from 1 April 2016. However, to remove the last bit of glamour and attraction from the tobacco packs, it must now embrace plain packaging.
  • Plain packaging prevents tobacco packs from carrying the tobacco industry brand imagery as mobile billboards. Other than brand and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style, it prohibits the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information.
  • India has taken several preparatory steps implemented by other countries like Australia and the UK that have introduced plain packaging, for example, stronger smoke-free laws, ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, increase in taxes and a report from civil society task force on plain packaging.
  • The trade and investment agreements signed by India are also within the international trade norms relating to public health.

States cannot pick police chiefs on their own: SC

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Role of Judiciary; Centre State Relations

In news:

  • Supreme Court rejected the pleas made by five States to implement their own local laws for selection and appointment of their State police chiefs.
  • Some states had requested for modification in the Supreme Court orders in the procedure to be followed for appointment of Director Generals of Police (DGP).
  • The court said its directions were issued in larger public interest and to protect the police officials from political interference.

Do you know?

  • In July 2018, the Supreme Court restrained State governments from appointing DGPs without first consulting the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • The State government concerned has to send UPSC the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a panel of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back.
  • The UPSC shall, as far as practicable, choose the people within the zone of consideration who have got a clear two years of service and must give due weightage to merit and seniority.
  • The State shall “immediately” appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the UPSC.

Lancet’s diet plan for the world

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II –Social/Welfare issue; Health reforms

In news:

According to Lancet,

  • With the ideal diet, one’s life would be less sweet but his/her lifespan would be longer.
  • Consumption of sugar and red meat should be cut by 50%.
  • Intake of fruits, vegetables, and nuts should increase.
  • Such a diet would not only be healthier but also more environment-friendly.
  • Unhealthy diets are the leading cause of ill-health worldwide, and following this healthy diet could avoid approximately 11 million premature deaths a year.
  • It will help ensure that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement [on Climate Change] are achieved.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/01/17/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_13/775978ee_2669515_101_mr.jpg


Miscellaneous:

1. Cricket in Dubai brings Pandits and Muslims closer

  • The two communities had parted on a bitter note during the traumatic displacement in January, 1990.
  • Kashmiri Pandits participated for the first time in the cricket league, helping to mend broken bonds between the communities.

2. India-US ties:

  • India has committed to purchase $5 billion worth of oil and gas from the U.S. annually, and $18 billion worth of defence equipment that are under implementation.
  • U.S. export to India has gone up by at least 30%.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC: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
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Skill India: Learning to Compete

Key Pointers:

  • National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) was introduced in 2013.
  • India’s skill agenda got a push when NSQF was introduced.
  • According to NSQF, all qualifications were to be organized according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude.
  • For each trade/occupation or professional qualification, course content should be prepared that corresponds to higher and higher level of professional knowledge and practical experience.
  • The framework was to be implemented by December 27, 2018.

To know more about National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF), visit – https://www.nsda.gov.in/nsqf.html (or) https://www.msde.gov.in/nsqf.html

 

Do you know?

  • Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is a Ministry of Government of India set up on 9 November 2014 to coordinate all skill development efforts across the country.
  • The Ministry mandated that all training/educational programmes/courses be NSQF-compliant by December 27, 2018.
  • It also mandated that all training and educational institutions define eligibility criteria for admission to various courses in terms of NSQF levels, by December 27, 2018.

Note: Below article deals with the implementation of National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF)

India Skills 2018:

  • NSQF implementation can be understood through the prism of national skill competitions, or India Skills (initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship)
  • 27 States participated in India Skills 2018, held in Delhi.
  • Maharashtra led the medals tally, followed by Odisha and Delhi.
  • Some teams will be selected to represent India at the 45th World Skills Competition, scheduled in Russia this year.
  • Abilympics was also included in India Skills 2018, for Persons with Disabilities.

Concerns:

  • A majority of the participants in India Skills, 2018 were from corporates (offering enterprise-based training) and industrial training institutes.
  • Neither industrial training institutes nor corporates’ courses are aligned with the NSQF.
  • Less than 20% participants were from the short-term courses of the NSDC which are NSQF compliant.
  • If India Skills 2018 was only open for the NSQF-aligned institutions, it would have been a big failure.

Problems facing NSQF:

  • Unlike general academic education, where certain level of certification is required before further progression is permitted, there is no clear definition of the course curriculum within the NSQF that enables upward mobility.
  • There is no connection of the tertiary level vocational courses to prior real knowledge of theory or practical experience in a vocational field.
  • Efforts to introduce new Bachelor of Vocation and Bachelor of Skills courses were made, but the alignment of these courses was not completed.
  • Lack of alignment between the HRD Ministry (responsible for the school level and Bachelor of Vocation courses) and the Ministry of Skill Development (responsible for non-school/non-university-related vocational courses).
  • There are too many Sector Skill Councils in India and each is not comprehensive, like we have four SSCs for manufacturing but they are treated as one in World Skills courses.

Do you know?

Five pillars of skill training in India:

  • The secondary schools/polytechnics.
  • Industrial training institutes.
  • NSDC funded private training providers offering short-term training.
  • 16 Ministries providing mostly short-term training.
  • Employers offering enterprise-based training.

What needs to be done to improve skill framework in India?

  1. There is a need for more holistic training and to re-examine the narrow, short-term NSQF-based NSDC courses.
  2. NSDC should include skills in broader occupation groups, so that trainees are skilled enough to compete at the international level.
  3. SSCs should be consolidated in line with the National Industrial Classification of India to improve quality, outcomes, and help in directly assessing the trainee’s competence. It might also bring some coherence to our skills data collection system.
  4. Vocational education must provide broader skills in broader occupational groups.
  5. A re-alignment in skill programme would prepare India for representation at the 45th World Skills Competition, scheduled in Russia this year.

Connecting the dots:


NATIONAL/ECONOMY

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Governance issues. 

General Studies 3 

  • Environment versus development.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Loopholes in New Coastal Regulation Zone Notification

Context:

We earlier had read about Centre proposing relaxation of coastal regulation zone norms (Dec 29, 2019 DNA – States get greater say over coastal regions)

Centre had proposed to –

  • Make India’s coasts to be more accessible to tourism and industrial infrastructure.
  • Give individual States more leeway to decide how they should plan such development.
  • Enhance activities in the coastal regions and promote economic growth.

According to the new CRZ notification (2018) –

  • Only such projects which are located in CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 nautical miles seaward) will require the necessary clearance from the Union Ministry.
  • The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II (the areas that have been developed up to or close to the shoreline) and III (areas that are relatively undisturbed) have been delegated to the State level.
  • The construction norms on Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR), which was frozen at 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels, have been relaxed and will now be based on laws which are in vogue.
  • The new notification also relaxed the No Development Zone (NDZ) criteria.
  • Densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2,161 per square kilometre, falling under CRZ-III A, now have NDZ of 50 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL) as against 200 metres stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011.
  • For islands close to the mainland coast and for all backwater islands in the mainland, the new norms stipulate an NDZ of 20 metres.
  • The notification also permits temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. in beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in NDZ of the CRZ-III areas.
  • The new notification may “boost tourism in terms of more activities, more infrastructure and more opportunities and will certainly go a long way in creating employment opportunities in various aspects of tourism”.
  • Also, in order to address pollution in coastal areas, setting up of treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ—I B area subject to necessary safeguards.
  • Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation, the order said.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2018/12/29/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_11/db99b0f5_2625945_101_mr.jpg

Concerns:

  • Critics argue that the latest developmental policies target areas that have retained some degree of ecological value and will turn them into sites for industrial production.
  • Despite evidence of the damaging effects of such policies (CRZ 2011), the government has come up with new proposals (CRZ 2018), which can spell the death of the coasts.
  • The changes in the 2018 CRZ notification can negate the coastal space entirely of its special socio-ecological uniqueness and open up this niche space that joins land and sea to mindless real estate development, mass scale tourism, and industry.
  • Land grabbing by private and government actors has been the norm. These actors forget that this space is the common property of coastal villages, towns and cities, and public beaches.
  • New CRZ notification spells a death knell to coastal communities. It might impact self-reliant fisher communities who reside along India’s coast, park and repair their nets and boats and organise their economic and social activities here.

Government should avoid taking away the jobs of people engaged in this sector.

Do you know?

  • With rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, coasts have become convenient dumping grounds.
  • Sewage, garbage and sludge from industrial processes land up on the coastline and makes life for coastal dwellers a living hell.
  • The new amendments legalise the setting up of common effluent treatment plants (CETPs), an impractical technology for cleaning up waste, on the most fragile parts of the coast. (These projects have made the coastal people of Saurashtra and south Gujarat more vulnerable to toxicity in their food, water and air.)

Conclusion:

India’s coasts are already facing climate change events such as intensive, frequent and unpredictable cyclones and erosion.

States have adopted decentralized action: mangroves are being planted, sand dunes and coastal wetlands are being protected, and coastal communities and local governments are collaborating on disaster.

But the top-down policy of the Central government to encroach what’s left of the coasts and increase activities that involve dredging, sand removal, and large-scale constructions contradict grass-roots and scientific wisdom.

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 regard to National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF):

  1. It is a competency-based framework that organizes all qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude.
  2. It shall be mandatory for all training/educational programmes/courses to be NSQF-compliant
  3. All training and educational institutions shall define eligibility criteria for admission to various courses in terms of NSQF levels.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Q.2) With reference to ‘National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF)’, which of the statements given below is/are correct?

  1. Under NSQF, a learner can acquire the certification for competency only through formal learning.
  2. An outcome expected from the implementation of NSQF is the mobility between vocational and general education.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements and choose the correct ones from the code given below:

  1. 45th World Skills Competition (2022) will be held in Delhi.
  2. India Skills 2018 was held in Delhi and it is an initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Select correct answer:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None

Q.4) National Skill development Fund and National Skill development Corporation have been set up by

  1. Ministry of Finance
  2. Ministry of Skill development
  3. Ministry of Commerce
  4. Ministry of MSME

Q.5) ‘Shailesh Nayak Committee’ is concerned with

  1. Coastal Zone Regulations
  2. Rate Hole Mining
  3. Merchandise Exports from India
  4. Non-Performing Assets

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