Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 18th March 2019

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  • March 18, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 18th March 2019



Seven Indians confirmed dead in attack on New Zealand mosques

Part of: GS Mains II – International affairs; Indian diaspora; Linkages between development and spread of extremism; Security issues

In news:

  • Seven Indians confirmed dead during the brutal killing of 50 people by a gun-wielding white supremacist in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Do you know?

  • The gunman had live-streamed his dastardly act on Facebook and social media users were busy forwarding them thoughtlessly.
  • The quick spread of both the video and the manifesto tells us how inadequate moderation is on the Internet.
  • The attack on mosques is a wake-up call on the anti-immigration, according to the white supremacist cult.
  • The gunman was influenced by far-right terrorists and their anti-Muslim, anti-immigration and anti-Semite ideology.
  • Right-wing racist terror, which has largely been on the fringes in the post-War world, is emerging as a major political and security threat, especially in white-majority societies.
  • In recent years, mosques in Germany and France have been targeted; in Britain an MP was stabbed to death; and in the U.S. a synagogue was attacked, leaving 11 people dead.
  • In most cases, the attackers were obsessed with immigration and the far-right ideas of Euro-Christian white racial purity, which is fundamentally not different from the ideology of the Nazis.

Only 26% of rural toilets use twin-leach pits: survey

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health issue; Rural Development

In news:

  • Centre’s flagship sanitation scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is on the verge of completing toilet construction for all rural households.
  • However, a government-commissioned survey shows that just over a quarter of rural toilets use this twin-pit system.
  • Twin-pit latrines were expected to create valuable farm manure from human excreta.
  • However, the waste from the remainder of rural toilets harmful to health and the environment, and even pushing a new generation into manual scavenging.

Do you know?

  • Under the twin-pit system, two pits are dug with honeycombed walls and earthen floors which allow liquid to percolate into the surrounding soil.
  • When one pit is filled and closed off, waste flow is transferred to the second pit, allowing waste in the first pit to be converted into manure after a year or two.
  • However, data from the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey 2018-19, shows that just 26.6% of rural households use the recommended twin-pit system to dispose of excreta from their toilets.
  • Septic tanks are the most popular option, with 28% of toilets connected to a septic tank with a soak pit and 6% to a tank without a soak pit.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/03/18/DEL/Delhi/TH/5_01/ba591e81_2807717_101_mr.jpg

‘Kerala model’ of sustainable fishing

Part of: GS Mains II and III – Government schemes and policies;

In news:

  • The Department of Fisheries under the Union Agriculture Ministry has advised coastal States and Union Territories to consider adopting conservation measures already introduced by Kerala.
  • One important component/measure under the Kerala model is – ‘Suchitwa Sagaram’ (Clean Sea) initiative – to keep the marine environment clean and litter-free.
  • At a time when sustainable utilisation of marine resources has become a hot topic globally, the ‘Kerala model’ of curbing destructive fishing practices and protecting marine ecosystems has found takers at the national level.

Ocean surveillance ship

Part of: GS prelims and Mains III – Defence/Security; Science and Technology

In news:

  • The sea trials of India’s first and most prestigious missile tracking ocean surveillance ship built at the Ministry of Defence-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited have received an encouraging response.
  • The ship, being built under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Security Adviser, is being referred to as yard number VC 11184.

Do you know?

  • It will be handed over to the Ministry of Defence shortly.
  • It will get a formal name to be chosen by the Navy once it is inducted into the naval fleet.
  • The ship was built at an estimated cost of over $231 million.

Pollution: 6 States told to submit action plan

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Environment and Ecology; Pollution; Good Governance; Role of NGT

In news:

  • National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed six States to submit by April 30 action plans for bringing air quality standards within the prescribed norms.
  • NGT says each State will be liable to pay ₹1 crore environment compensation on failing to submit plan.
  • The direction came after the CPCB informed the green panel that out of 102 cities, action plan has been received from 83 cities, while 19 have not submitted it.

Concept of “carrying capacity”

  • Concerned over the threat posed to limited natural resources due to their overuse, the tribunal has directed assessment of carrying capacity of 102 cities, including Delhi, where the air quality does not meet the national ambient air quality standards.
  • The concept of “carrying capacity” addresses the question as to how many people can be permitted into any area without the risk of degrading the environment there.

Do you know?

  • Air pollution is a matter of serious concern and large number of deaths take place every year in the country on account of air pollution.
  • The NGT had said that Delhi is over-polluted and figures quite high in the ranking of most polluted cities and there is no study about the capacity of the city with respect to the extent of population which can be accommodated and number of vehicles which can be handled by its roads.

Navy’s Theatre Level Exercise, TROPEX 19

Part of: GS prelims and Mains III – Defence/Security; Maritime exercises

Key pointers:

Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX) is an annual inter-service exercise

Aim: The exercise is aimed at testing combat readiness of the combined fleets of the Indian Navy, and the assets of the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard. It will also strengthen inter-operability and joint operations in a complex environment.

About: Exercise will have ships and aircraft of both the Western and Eastern Naval Commands, as also assets from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard exercising together. The exercise is being conducted off the Western Seaboard.

Do you know?

  • This year as tensions between India and Pakistan mounted, India put its key naval assets, including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and nuclear submarines, on operational alert.
  • The Navy said the availability of a large number of combat-ready assets in the theatre of operations for TROPEX allowed it to “expeditiously respond to the developing situation in synergy with the three services.”

INS Khanderi: Second Scorpene submarine ready for induction

Part of: GS prelims and Mains III – Defence/Security; Science and Technology

In news:

  • The Navy is set to induct the second Scorpene submarine Khanderi by early May.
  • INS Khanderi is the second of the Indian Navy’s six Kalvari-class submarines being built in India.
  • It is a diesel-electric attack submarine which is designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS and being manufactured at Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai.
  • INS Khanderi, named after Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji’s island fort Khanderi

Project 75

  • Six Scorpene class submarines are being built under Project 75 by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDSL), Mumbai, under a $3.75 billion technology transfer signed in October 2005 with the Naval Group of France.
  • The Scorpene class is the Navy’s first modern conventional submarine series in almost two decades, since INS Sindhushastra was procured from Russia in July 2000.

Migration in Bengal delta driven by livelihood issues, social factors

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and II – Society; Social issue; Migration issues

In news:

According to study titled Deltas, Vulnerability and Climate Change: Migration and Adaptation (DECMA).

  • Economic reasons are the precipitating factor for migration in the Indian Bengal Delta that comprises the Sunderbans.
  • There is huge gender disparity when it comes to those migrating from the region.

The study which covers 51 blocks of districts of South and North 24 Parganas also revealed that:

  • 64% people migrate because of economic reasons, unsustainable agriculture, lack of economic opportunities and debt.
  • 28 % of the migration from the region is for social reasons.
  • About 7% for environmental reasons like cyclones and flooding.

Do you know?

  • The study, held between 2014 and 2018 focused on three deltas Ganga Brahmaputra Meghna Delta (India and Bangladesh) Volta (Ghana) and Mahanadi (India) and looked into the aspect of climate change, adaptation and migration in these deltas.

On Gender disparity

  • Men outnumbering women by almost five times. It shows that of the people migrating 83% are men and only 17 % are women. While most of the men migrate due to economic reasons, women do so, driven by mostly social factors.
  • The DECMA report also finds that most migrants both in case of men and women are young, in the age group of 20-30 years.

Destination of migrations

  • In terms of the destination of migrations, the study finds that 51% of migration from the Indian Bengal Delta is to other areas of the State particularly to the city of Kolkata, 10% to Maharashtra, 9% to Tamil Nadu, 7% Kerala and 6% to Gujarat.
  • It shows that 57% of migration is seasonal, where people move once or twice a year; 19% is circular where those migrating move thrice a year irrespective of reasons and 24% permanent where people intend to stay for at least six months in the place they are migrating to.
  • According to experts behind the study, one of the reasons for migration is failed adaptation in the areas which are under stress due to climate change.

Vulnerable areas

  • In the study, experts also map the climate change hot spots and highest risk areas of Sunderbans based on an analysis of climate change hazards. The areas of Gosaba, Basanti, Kultali, Sagar, Kakdwip, Namkhana, Canning and Mathurapur (all in South 24 Parganas) have high levels of agriculture dependency and so are sensitive to climate hazards such as flood and salinity.

Person in news: Pinaki Chandra Ghose

Why in news?

  • Pinaki Chandra Ghose is set to be India’s first Lokpal. (or first anti-corruption ombudsman)
  • Pinaki is a former Supreme Court judge and current member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
  • Recommended by High-level selection committee chaired by Prime Minister

Do you know?

  • The Lokpal Act, which was passed in 2013 after a nationwide anti-corruption movement, provides for setting up of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in the States to probe corruption complaints against top functionaries and public servants, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers.
  • The government was prompted to make the selection after the Supreme Court set the February-end deadline.

Important Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act-2013

  • It was notified on January 1, 2014.
  • It provides for establishing a body to be called the Lokpal and headed by a Chairperson, who is or has been a Chief Justice of India, or is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, or an eminent person who fulfils eligibility criteria as specified.
  • Of its other members, not exceeding eight, 50% are to be judicial members, provided that not less than 50% of the members belong to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, minorities, and women.
  • For states, the Act says: “Every State shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta for the State, if not so established, constituted or appointed, by a law made by the State Legislature, to deal with complaints relating to corruption against certain public functionaries, within a period of one year from the date of commencement of this Act.
  • Lokpal will have an “Inquiry Wing, headed by the Director of Inquiry, for the purpose of conducting preliminary inquiry into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
  • It will also have a “Prosecution Wing headed by the Director of Prosecution for the purpose of prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint by the Lokpal under this Act”. These are to deal with complaints against public servants; the chairperson and members of the Lokpal too come under the definition of “public servant”.

Jurisdiction of Lokpal

  • The Lokpal Act covers a wide range of public servants — from the Prime Minister, ministers and MP, to groups A, B, C and D officers of the central government.
  • However, it does not allow a Lokpal inquiry if the allegation against the Prime Minister relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.
  • Also, complaints against the Prime Minister are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of inquiry and at least 2/3rds of the members approve it. Such an inquiry against the Prime Minister (if conducted) is to be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry are not to be published or made available to anyone.


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Q.1) TROPEX is a defence exercise between

  1. India and Nepal
  2. Nepal and Bhutan
  3. India and Sri Lanka
  4. None of the above

Q.2) Consider the following statements about ‘INS Khanderi’

  1. It is an Indian Navy’s torpedo launch and recovery vessel
  2. It is designed by French naval defence and energy company DCNS and built by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL)

Select the correct statements

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

Q.3) Consider the following about Scorpene-class submarines and identify the incorrect statement:

  1. The submarines are built with the French technology at the Mazagaon Dock Ltd in Mumbai.
  2. The Scorpene-class submarines are a class of diesel-electric attack submarines jointly developed by the French Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) and the Spanish company Navantia, and now by DCNS.
  3. All the six submarines under this class will be equipped with the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, which will enable them to stay underwater for longer duration.
  4. None of the above

Q.4) Consider the following about Lokayuktas:

  1. Lokayuktas are appointed by the governor of the state.
  2. He is not eligible for reappointment for a second term.
  3. The term of office fixed for lokayukta is of 6 years duration or 65 years of age.

Select the correct answer from the codes given below:

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

Q.5) According to the Lokpal & Lokayuktas Act, 2013, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The act extends to whole of India, excluding Jammu and Kashmir.
  2. The act applies to public servants both in and outside India.
  3. The act mandates for creation of Lokpal for Union and Lokayukta for states.

Choose the correct answer from the code given below:

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


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