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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st March 2019

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  • March 3, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st March 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Cabinet clears voluntary use of Aadhaar as identity proof

Part of: GS Mains II – National issue; Right to Privacy; Governance issues

In news:

  • Cabinet approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to allow voluntary submission of Aadhaar as identity proof for use by private entities such as banks, telcos and fintech firms.
  • The Ordinance also gives a child an option to exit from Aadhaar on attaining 18 years of age.
  • The amendment also provides for civil penalties for violations of the Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem.
  • It permits the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the authority.

Do you know?

  • No individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament.
  • The amendments will enable UIDAI to restrain the misuse of Aadhaar.

National Mineral Policy 2019

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian economy and development

In news:

  • The Union Cabinet approved the National Mineral Policy 2019.
  • The New National Mineral Policy will ensure more effective regulation. It will lead to sustainable mining sector development in future while addressing the issues of project affected persons especially those residing in tribal areas.
  • The aim of National Mineral Policy 2019 is to have a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.

Do you know?

  • The new National Mineral Policy 2019 replaces the extant National Mineral Policy 2008 (“NMP 2008”) which was announced in year 2008.
  • The impetus to review NMP 2008 came about by way of a direction from the Supreme Court vide its judgment in 2017 in Writ Petition entitled Common Cause v/s Union of India & Others.

Provisions under National Mineral Policy 2019

  • Introduction of Right of First Refusal for RP/PL holders
  • Encouraging the private sector to take up exploration.
  • Auctioning in virgin areas for composite RP cum PL cum ML on revenue share basis.
  • Encouragement of merger and acquisition of mining entities and transfer of mining leases and creation of dedicated mineral corridors to boost private sector mining areas.
  • Proposes to grant status of industry to mining activity to boost financing of mining for private sector and for acquisitions of mineral assets in other countries by private sector.
  • It also mentions that Long term import export policy for mineral will help private sector in better planning and stability in business.
  • It mentions rationalize reserved areas given to PSUs which have not been used and to put these areas to auction, which will give more opportunity to private sector for participation.
  • It mentions to make efforts to harmonize taxes, levies & royalty with world benchmarks to help private sector.
  • Include the focus on make in India initiative and Gender sensitivity in terms of the vision. In so far as the regulation in Minerals is concerned, E-Governance, IT enabled systems, awareness and Information campaigns have been incorporated. Regarding the role of state in mineral development online public portal with provision for generating triggers at higher level in the event of delay of clearances has been put in place.
  • Aims to attract private investment through incentives while the efforts would be made to maintain a database of mineral resources and tenements under mining tenement systems.
  • Focusses on use coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals and encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals. The utilization of the district mineral fund for equitable development of project affected persons and areas.
  • The 2019 Policy also introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity that deals with the well-being not only of the present generation but also of the generations to come and also proposes to constitute an inter-ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring sustainable development in mining.

Software product policy 2019

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Indian economy and development

In news:

  • The Union Cabinet approved the National Policy on Software Products 2019.
  • It aims to help the industry grow at CAGR of 40% to reach $70-80 billion by 2025, while creating employment opportunities for 3.5 million people.
  • Initially an outlay of ₹1,500 crore is being planned for various schemes under in policy in the next seven years.
  • Further, the policy proposes to create a ₹5,000-crore fund with industry participation to promote emerging technology such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Big Data and robotics. Of this, government contribution will be ₹1,000 crore.

Significance of the Policy:

Promoting ecosystem

  • ‘Software Product Development Fund’ will participate in venture funds having objectives aligned to this policy and so can leverage private investments targeted to promote software product ecosystem.The SPDF will be financially managed by a professional financial institution.
  • Presently, total revenue of IT-ITeS industry in India is pegged at about $168 billion (including e-commerce), with revenue of about $7.1 billion from software product industry, of which $2.3 billion is from exports.

Tenfold rise

  • The policy, which aims to increase share of Indian software products in global market by tenfold, pitches for nurturing of 10,000 technology start-ups in software product industry, including 1,000 such start-ups in tier-II and tier-III towns.
  • It also proposes up-skilling of 10 lakh IT professionals as well specialise 10,000 professionals to “provide leadership.

Rhinos without borders

Part of: GS prelims and Mains III – Animal conservation; Environment and Biodiversity

In news:

  • International boundaries will not come in the way of conservation of rhinos.
  • The New Delhi Declaration was adopted during the second meeting of the Asian rhino range countries.
  • Experts had noted that trans-boundary collaboration is needed between India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the conservation and protection of the greater one-horned rhino.
  • There are no rhinos in Bhutan, but some from the Manas National Park in adjoining Assam or Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal are known to cross over occasionally.

Miscellaneous:

  • Another push at UNSC to ban Azhar : : Three permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the U.S., U.K and France, have made a ‘listing request’ to the UNSC, asking for a travel ban, arms embargo and asset freeze on Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar.
  • By 2040, Arctic summers may turn ice-free : : The Arctic Ocean could experience ice-free summers within the next 20 years much earlier than previously predicted unless human greenhouse gas emissions are greatly reduced, a study warns.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2 

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests ; 
  • India and the World ; India and its neighbourhood- relations. 
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate

Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and India

Why in news?

  • The 46th Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers will be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2.
  • For the first time, India has been invited to an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting as guest of honour.

About OIC:

  • The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations
  • It has membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
  • It is an organisation of the collective voice of the Muslim world.

Objectives:

  • The main motive of the organisation is to the safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco 25 September 1969 as a result of criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

Governing Bodies of OIC

  1. The Islamic Summit, composed of Kings and Heads of State and Government of Member States, is the supreme authority of the Organization. It convenes once every three years to take policy decisions and provide guidance on all issues pertaining to the realization of the objectives and consider other issues of concern to the Member States and the Ummah.
  2. The Council of Foreign Ministers, which meets once a year, considers the means for the implementation of the general policy of the Organization by, inter alia:
  • Adopting decisions and resolutions on matters of common interest in the implementation of the objectives and the general policy of the Organization;
  • Reviewing progress of the implementation of the decisions and resolutions adopted at the previous Summits and Councils of Foreign Ministers;
  1. The General Secretariat, which is the executive organ of the Organization, entrusted with the implementation of the decisions of the two preceding bodies.

Do you know?

  • Invitation comes when India has been mounting diplomatic pressure to isolate Pakistan internationally following the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
  • The OIC has usually been supportive of Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.
  • OIC had denied India a seat when the grouping started.

India and Islamic World

  • In the last few years, India has improved ties with the Islamic world from Saudi Arabia to Indonesia, while building on good relations with countries like Qatar and Oman.
  • While it was Bangladesh that floated the idea of India becoming an observer at the OIC in 2018, the UAE invite offered India an opportunity to address the forum.
  • The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MBZ), was a very special Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations in 2017, the first time that India laid out the Republic Day red carpet for a leader who was neither a Head of State nor Head of Government.
  • The Crown Prince MBZ had earlier visited India in February 2016, following a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in August 2015.
  • Recently, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman visited India.

Conclusion:

  • All these are indication of India’s improved ties with both Saudi and the UAE, and the Gulf region as a whole.
  • The increased engagement is also rooted in the shared interest between India and the Arab conservatives in blunting the edge of religious extremism and terrorism.
  • Equally important has been the region’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India, which is emerging as the world’s third-largest economy and one of the biggest hydrocarbon importers and labour exporters.

Connecting the dots:

  • Have you witnessed a transformation in India’s Middle East strategy in recent years? Analyse.
  • What is Organisation of Islamic Cooperation? Discuss its objectives and also discuss the significance of OIC’s first-time invitation to India.

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