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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st January 2019

  • IASbaba
  • January 21, 2019
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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st January 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


CIC selection arbitrary

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Governance issues

In news:

  • RTI activists have termed the recent appointment of former Law Secretary Suresh Chandra as a Central Information Commissioner an “arbitrary process” as he had not applied for the position.
  • According to files recently made public by the Department of Personnel and Training, he was not on the list of 280 applicants. But he was among the 14 short-listed.
  • Shortlisting has been done outside the list of applicants, in violation of procedure laid out by the department in their own affidavit to the Supreme Court.

About Central Information Commission

  • Central Information Commission (CIC) is set up under the Right to Information Act.
  • It is a quasi judicial body and designated statutory authority to receive and inquire into complaint from any person.
  • CIC hears appeals from information-seekers who have not been satisfied by the public authority, and also addresses major issues concerning the RTI Act.
  • It is plays important role in maintaining transparency in system of governance essential for healthy democracy.
  • Such kind of transparency check aims to curb corruption, nepotism, oppression and misuse or abuse of the authority.

Flamingo festival held at Pulicat lake in Andhra Pradesh

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Conservation of animals and biodiversity; Tourism

In news:

  • Three-day annual Flamingo Festival was held at Pulicat lake and Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Flamingo Festival is held every year to promote tourism.
  • As over 90,000 birds have come from far away places to the lake this year.

About Pulicat lake

  • The lake is the second largest brackish water ecosystem in the country after the Chilika lake in Odisha.
  • It is located on border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu with over 96% of it in Andhra Pradesh and 4% in Tamil Nadu situated on Coromandal Coast.
  • The lake encompasses Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary.

Miscellaneous:

  1. ‘Operation Kabaddi’

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – National; Defence and Security challenges

In news:

  • ‘Operation Kabaddi’ was aimed at preventing cross-border infiltration, in the post-Kargil scenario.
  • The objective [of Operation Kabaddi] was to change the geography of the LoC with access to tactical points there, which would then help the Army tackle the infiltration of militants by the Pakistani side.
  1. Kumbh will generate ₹1.2 lakh crore revenue

In news:

  • The mega Kumbh Mela, which began on January 15 and will continue till March 4, is expected to generate a revenue of ₹1.2 lakh crore for Uttar Pradesh, according to apex industry body Confederation of Indian Industry.
  • Global festival: The Mela attracts a massive number of tourists from various countries like Australia, the U.K., Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, the Kumbh is a festival of the world.
  1. RailWire WiFi
  • The Indian Railways has one of the world’s largest public WiFi networks in RailWire WiFi.
  • The network, provided by RailTel, a ‘Mini Ratna’ central PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) under the Ministry of Railways, is not only one of the largest but also one of the fastest public WiFi networks.
  • Free WiFi services to commuters are being provided under ‘RailWire’, RailTel’s retail Broadband initiative.
  1. Aadhaar is now passport to Nepal and Bhutan

In news:

  • Aadhaar cards are now valid travel documents for Indians under 15 and over 65 travelling to Nepal and Bhutan, according to a Home Ministry communique.
  • Indian citizens going to Nepal and Bhutan don’t need a visa if they have a valid passport, a photo identity card issued by the government of India or an election ID card issued by the Election Commission.
  • Earlier, persons over 65 and under 15 could show their PAN card, driving licence, Central Government Health Service (CGHS) card or ration card, but not the Aadhaar, to prove their identity and visit the two countries.

(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
  • Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  • 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.

MGNREGA: Fabrication and Falsification

Introduction

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, one of the most ambitious schemes was initiated with the objective of “enhancing livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year, to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work”.
  • The programme has arguably lifted lakhs of people out of poverty however there are few lacunas that needs to be addressed.
  • Among those lacunas, lack of sufficient funds, rampant payment delays and abysmal wage rates act as triple blow to the job guarantee scheme.

Key pointers:

  • Many vulnerable people (especially women and widows) are sceptical of working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) because of delays in payment and the lack of support facilities for their children at worksites.
  • In recent years, there have been at least 74 reported starvation deaths, with 60 cases having occurred in the last two years across parts of India; a lot of them have been in Jharkhand.

Concerns:

  • Poor implementation of MGNREGA: If implemented the proper way, MGNREGA, among other measures, can go a long way in improving the life and the livelihoods of rural people.
  • Hiding the reality: The current government and some of the State governments are covering up realities by deliberately manipulating and fabricating information to suit its false narrative.  
  • Ethical and legal violations: Manipulation of information and perpetrating falsehoods lead to ethical and legal violations
  • Unemployment allowance rarely implemented: We know that, MGNREGA is a demand-driven programme, i.e., work must be provided within 15 days of demanding work failing which the Centre must pay an unemployment allowance (UA). A UA report is generated but rarely implemented. UA report is intentionally suppressed to avoid paying delay compensation.
  • Poor Management Information System: A web enabled Management Information System (MIS) has been developed for NREGA to make its data transparent and available in the public domain to be equally accessed by all. However, field functionaries (to prepare MIS) do not even enter the work because of a funds crunch.
  • Poor work demand: During 2017-18 the employment generated was about 33% lower than the registered work demand, and during 2016-17, about 30% lower.
  • Lack of fund: 99% of the original allocation got exhausted before three months. Centre has revised additional allocation. Despite these revisions, 16 States still show a negative balance which shows the continued lack of funds.  Allocation does not honour work demand.
  • Delayed payments: Contrary to the Central government’s claims of there being more than 90% payments on time, a recent study shows only 21% payments were made on time in 2016-17.

Such falsification and a manipulation of information by the government remind one of Václav Havel’s essay “The Power of the Powerless”.

While the government is busy falsifying realities, starvation and agrarian distress, the slow death of the MGNREGA continues.

Connecting the dots:

  • MIS avails transparency but accountability is equally important. With regards to MGNREGA, examine the importance of transparency as well as accountability with suitable examples.
  • Lack of sufficient funds, rampant payment delays and abysmal wage rates have acted as triple blow to the job guarantee scheme. Do you agree? Critically analyze.
  • Examine the issues that needs to be addressed properly for effective implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.

NATIONAL/SOCIAL ISSUE

TOPIC: General studies 1 and 2

  • Social Empowerment
  • 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

The missing women

Introduction

According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index Baseline Report by NITI Aayog –

  • India’s employment generation in the last five years has remained weak.
  • 64 per 1,000 persons appear to be unemployed in the working age group of 15-59.
  • The problem of unemployment has become more acute for youth and women.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report of 2016,

  • Youth are three times as likely as adults to be unemployed.

Sustainable Development Goal 8 says –

  • Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • By 2020 there should be a substantial reduction in the proportion of youth in the category of Not in Education, Employment and Training.
  • As per ILO estimates, 27.5% in India are in this category, of which 8% are men and 49.3% are women.

Status of women in India

  • In India, majority of women work under the category of “housewives”.
  • Unfortunately, in India’s economy, neither their contribution nor their presence gets counted in the GDP.
  • Women have a low enrolment rate in secondary and higher education.
  • The percentage of women not in education, employment and training in all age groups is low compared to men.

The way ahead:

  • It is important to understand the causes and consequences of not being in education, employment and training and affirmative actions should follow.
  • For example, to promote girls’ education, the major schemes which function at the pan-India level are Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana. These schemes should focus on recognising the contributions of the youth, particularly the younger cohort of women.
  • The patriarchal mindset of the society needs to be changed. This leads to lack of inheritance rights, denial of participation in decision making, poor workforce participation, lack of empowerment and continued financial dependency on male members of the family.
  • Policies have to focus on affirmative actions which could pave the way for genuine progress towards Sustainable Development Goals.

As the global community works toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — among them, SDG2, which aims to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030 — women can be the key agents of change in agriculture, nutrition and rural development.  With better access to information, training, and technology, women can alter food production and consumption so that land and resources are used sustainably.

Connecting the dots:

  • Real empowerment of women lies in ensuring their economic liberty. Do you agree? Substantiate.
  • Examine the current employment scenario of women in India. Discuss why it is crucial to create more formal employment for women.

(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 about Central Information commission:

  1. The Central Information Commission has been constituted under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
  2. The jurisdiction of the Commission extends over all Central Public Authorities.
  3. The commission submits its report to the President of India.

Which among the following is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Central Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners are appointed by the president on the recommendations of a nomination committee. Who of the following is not a member of this nomination committee?

  1. Prime Minister
  2. A Union Minister Nominated by Prime Minister
  3. Speaker of Lok Sabha
  4. Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha

Q.3) Which of the following statements are NOT correct regarding Central Information Commission?

  1. It is a statutory body.
  2. It consists of four members with one Chief information Commissioner and three Information Commissioners.
  3. It has a jurisdiction over Central Government Bodies, PSU and MNCs working in India.

Select the code from following:

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

Q.4) Consider the following statements regarding Central Information Commission (CIC):

  1. It was constituted through an Official Gazette Notification under the provisions of the Right to Information Act (2005).
  2. It entertains complaints and appeals pertaining to offices, financial institutions, public sector undertakings, etc., under the Central Government, State Government and the Union Territories.

Which of the above statements is/are INCORRECT?

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

Q.5) Which of the following bird species are migratory in nature?

  1. Pelican
  2. Flamingo
  3. Northern Duck
  4. Amur Falcon

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

Q.6) Consider the following statements about Pulicat lake

  1. The lake is the second largest brackish water ecosystem in the country after the Chilika lake in Odisha.
  2. It is located on border of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Select the correct code:

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

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