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Daily Current Affairs IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 01st February 2019

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  • February 2, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 01st February 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Unemployment rate at four-decade high: NSSO survey

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian Economy and issues related to it; Unemployment

In news:

According to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO’s) periodic labour force survey (PLFS) –

  • The country’s unemployment rate stood at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.
  • The unemployment rate was at its highest level since 1972-73.
  • The report said that joblessness stood at 7.8 percent in urban areas compared with 5.3 parts in the countryside.
  • To compare, the unemployment rate in the country had gone down to 2.2% in 2011-12, according to NSSO data.
  • This data was collected by the NSSO between July 2017 and June 2018 – and is the first official employment survey after demonetisation.

However, the official survey has been withheld by the government.

While India’s economy has been expanding by 7 percent plus annually — the fastest pace among major economies — its uneven growth has meant that there are not enough new jobs to keep pace.

Do you know?

  • The last report published by the statistics ministry had shown that the unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent in 2015/16 from 4.9 percent in the previous year and 4.0 percent in 2012/13.

Several Indians held across U.S. on visa fraud charges

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian diaspora and Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

In news:

  • Several Indian citizens or people of Indian origin have been arrested across cities in the U.S. on student visa fraud charges.
  • Emerging patterns suggest most of the individuals are of Telugu origin.
  • Eight “educational agents” were alleged to be running the racket, to commit visa fraud and to harbour aliens (non-U.S. citizens) for profit.
  • An unspecified number of Indian students have been detained by the Department of Homeland Security in connection with the case.
  • The American Telugu Association has put the number of students arrested at 100 and says it has confirmation of arrest warrants for 600 students based on conversations with attorneys.

Naval Airfield Integrated Security System

Part of: GS Mains – Security issues; Defence

In news:

  • Indian Navy has finalised a ₹700 crore contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for establishing an upgraded Naval Airfield Integrated Security System.
  • After terrorists attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, the system was formulated as a comprehensive project for upgrading the security of naval airfields.
  • The measures forming part of the project include an anti-climbing fence, drain detection intrusion systems, a CCTV network and under-vehicle surveillance.

India asks UK to stop Kashmir event in London

Part of: GS Mains II –  International Relations; India and the world

In news:

  • India has lodged a strong protest with the UK to stop the hosting of a Pakistan-backed conference on Kashmir to be held in British parliament on February 4.
  • Pakistan has alleged human rights abuses in the Valley by Indian Army and also called for the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act.
  • UK has said that it will not interfere in the matter and said that UK Members of Parliament are independent of government.
  • The British, for now, are trying to keep out of this diplomatic war that has found its way to London.
  • The UK’s longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution to the situation in Kashmir, taking into account the Kashmiri people’s wishes.

(MAINS FOCUS)


SECURITY/TECHNOLOGY

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Challenges to Nation’s Security
  • Security challenges and their management
  • Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
  • Indigenization of technology and developing new technology
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

Disruptive Technologies to Upend Rules of War

Context:

We can categorize new technology as being of two sorts, either sustaining or disruptive.

  • Sustaining technology is the gradual development of existing technology.
  • Disruptive technology does the opposite, it revolutionises the field, but comes with risks attached because it is new, untested and initially limited in scope.

Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell disrupted the way we communicate when he invented the telephone; and British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee disrupted it again when he invented the World Wide Web. Now the military and defence industry are facing their own disruptive technology challenges and dilemmas.

Transition from traditional heavy-duty military hardware to high-tech innovations

  • There is a revolution in military affairs across the world.
  • The current focus in military thinking is increasingly moving away from traditional heavy-duty military hardware to high-tech innovations
  • High-tech innovations include – artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, satellite jammers, hypersonic strike technology, advanced cyber capabilities and spectrum denial and high-energy lasers.
  • These high-tech systems offer unprecedented capabilities.
  • In order to accommodate and calibrate such systems, there is also an increased focus on developing suitable command and control as well as doctrinal concepts.

Disruptive nature of high-tech innovation technologies

  • The arrival of such high-tech innovation technologies might deeply frustrate strategic stability as we know it given their disruptive nature.
  • Currently, strategic stability in the contemporary international system (especially among the nuclear weapon states) depends on several age-old certainties.
  • The most important strategic stability being the issue of survivability of a state’s nuclear arsenal and its ability to carry out a second strike after a first attack.
  • AI-enabled systems can easily disrupt this strategic stability by taking over the survivability of nuclear arsenal, thanks to high precision, accuracy, real time tracking and surveillance etc.
  • Even the naval leg of a nuclear triad (which is assumed to be the most survivable part since it is hidden away in the depths of the ocean away from the adversary’s gaze) can be detected now due to the potential ability of deep-sea drones.

In crux, traditional calculations and strategic stability are things of the past.

Need of the hour:

  • It is imperative for states to redesign their systems in the light of these new technologies, especially the digital and cyber components.
  • It is important to prepare for such new age wars.

Indian context:

In order to address the new age challenges to national security –

  • In late 2018, Government decided to set up three new agencies — the Defence Cyber Agency, the Defence Space Agency and the Special Operations Division. (based on recommendations given by the Naresh Chandra Task Force and the Chiefs of Staff Committee)
  • Constitution of these agencies will indeed be a useful step in the right direction.

Connecting the dots:

  • Examine the need for disruptive thinking and modernization of Army to take on the security challenges of the future.
  • The Army of the future will have to be technologically oriented, with many more specialists, as compared to generalists. Elucidate.

ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Green India Mission: Expanding ‘good’ green cover in India

Introduction:

The Green India Mission is one of eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.

8 govt missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC)

  1. National Solar Mission
  2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
  3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
  4. National Water Mission
  5. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
  6. National Mission for a Green India
  7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
  8. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

National Mission for a Green India

  • Also termed as the Green India Mission/Scheme, it aims at protecting; restoring and enhancing India’s diminishing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures.
  • Driven by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, it received the nod of approval from the Cabinet in 2014.

Mission Goals

  • To increase forest/tree cover to the extent of 5 million hectares (mha) and improve quality of forest/tree cover on another 5 mha of forest/non-forest lands;
  • To improve/enhance eco-system services like carbon sequestration and storage (in forests and other ecosystems), hydrological services and biodiversity; along with provisioning services like fuel, fodder, and timber and non-timber forest produces (NTFPs); and
  • To increase forest based livelihood income of about 3 million households.

Study examines effectiveness of Green India Mission

According to a study which examined critically at India’s National Mission for a Green India argue that –

1. Contemporary afforestation goals set under GIM are influenced by colonial policies rather than scientific basis.

  • India’s target to bring 33 percent of its total land under the forest cover is more a result of colonial hangover rather than backed by science.
  • The study revealed that the target was primarily developed by Europeans, mainly France, during colonial period and it then quickly spread to British and French colonial territories in Africa and other parts of world including Asia.

2. The target may result in difficulties for forest dwellers and tribal communities.

  • The Mission aims to improve forest-based livelihoods, however, the initiative has all the qualities to disinherit or cut-off forest-rooted populations.
  • The study also said that it remains entirely unclear whether large-scale plantations have positive effects on socioeconomic conditions of communities and noted that a recent systematic review suggests that such efforts have significant negative impacts on local communities in terms of employment, livelihoods, and other intertwined’ social impacts.

3. India’s new Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act has flaws

  • The 2016 Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act legislates that if forest is cleared an equivalent amount of land must be afforested elsewhere.
  • This provision is likely to undermine local control of land and extend the reach of the forest department to the detriment of local livelihoods.

4. Afforestation alone cannot cure all-ills

  • The study emphasised that for at least two centuries, tree planting has been lauded as an environmental cure-all for ills including “civilisational decline, diminished precipitation, warming temperatures, soil erosion, and decreasing biodiversity” despite the “demonstrated failings” in many environments.
  • The study argues that the approach to forestry in India has been “fraught” with “countless, commonly observed problems”. For instance, commitment to fixed rates of forest cover encourages tree plantations in “ecologically inappropriate sites and conditions”.
  • Other problem deals with the enthusiasm for fast growing species and exotic and invasive species, planted in the name of increasing land cover dedicated to ‘forest’.

Planting vs greening

The Study argues that tree-planting is NOT greening. Greening would take a socio-ecological approach that treated the system as a whole, a ‘Restoration Ecology’ of grasslands, streams, mixed scrub, agro-forestry, and so on.

Conclusion:

India deserves a true ‘greening’ approach, that takes seriously the genius loci, the peculiarity of local systems, and restores these with local people.

The study says “sometimes we do things simply because we have always done them, and think things because we have always thought them”. “By showing that actions and ideas have arbitrary (and sometimes pernicious) roots, it sets us free to imagine new and better things.”

Connecting the dots:

  • What is Green India Mission? What are its objectives? Explain.
  • Discuss how India’s afforestation policy has evolved over time. Also, discuss the concerns associated with the new Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act.
  • A scientific national plan to expand good green cover is absolutely essential in India. Discuss.

(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 reference to Economic Census in India

  1. The census is conducted by National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO).
  2. It covers all economic activities (agricultural and non-agricultural) taking place in the country.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements with reference to women workforce participation rate in India

  1. India has women workforce participation of 50%
  2. Women workforce participation rate is higher in urban areas than in rural areas

 Which of the above statements is/are correct?

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

Q.3) Match the following

  1. Laffer curve                        Inflation and Unemployment
  2. Philips curve                         National Income and Population
  3. Lorenz curve                  Tax rates and tax revenue

Select the correct answer using code below

  1. 1-a, 2-b, 3-c
  2. 1-c, 2-a, 3-b
  3. 1-b, 2-a, 3-c
  4. 1-a, 2-c, 3-b

Q.4) Which of the following are the objectives of Green India Mission?

  1. Increase forest cover to the extent of 5 million hectares.
  2. Enhancing eco-system services.
  3. Increase forest based livelihood income.

Select the correct answer using code below

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

Q.5) Which of the following mission is not part of the National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC)?

  1. National Mission for Plastic-Free India
  2. National Solar Mission
  3. National Mission for a green India
  4. National Water Mission

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