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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th May 2019

  • IASbaba
  • May 16, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th May 2019

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(PRELIMS+MAINS FOCUS)


Monsoon and its forecast mechanism

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World

In news:

According to India Meteorological Department (IMD)

  • Monsoon to reach Kerala on June 6
  • Southwest monsoon will be “slightly delayed” over Kerala
  • The normal onset date is June 1
  • The IMD forecast is in line with the one by private forecaster Skymet

Do you know?

  • The IMD has been using a customised model, since 2005, to forecast the monsoon’s onset over Kerala.
  • This model crunches six meteorological parameters:
  • Minimum temperatures over northwest India;
  • Pre-monsoon rainfall peak over the south peninsula;
  • Outgoing long wave radiation (OLR) over the South China Sea;
  • Lower tropospheric zonal wind over the southeast Indian Ocean;
  • Upper tropospheric zonal wind over the east equatorial Indian Ocean;
  • OLR over the southwest Pacific region.
  • It has a built-in error margin of 4 days.

About IMD & Skymet:

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is an agency of the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Government of India.

  • It is the principal agency responsible for meteorological observations, weather forecasting and seismology.
  • IMD is headquartered in Delhi and operates hundreds of observation stations across India and Antarctica.

Skymet Weather Services is a private Indian company that provides weather forecast and solutions to Indians.

  • Skymet provides wind and solar forecast for different renewable energy companies by running its own meso and micro scale NWP.
  • Skymet along with few NGOs are closely working to improve the sustenance of farmer in different remote blocks of many states in India.
  • Skymet also caters to different companies for marine weather forecast.

State prepares to battle dengue

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Social/Health issue; Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 In news:

  • As monsoon approaches, State prepares to battle dengue

Do you know?

  • National Dengue Day, celebrated on May 16
  • According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the aim is to spread awareness about dengue and to increase preventive measures as well as find out ways to prevent and control the disease across the country.
  • A viral disease caused by the dengue virus, it is transmitted by the Aedes mosquito (Aedes aegypti) bite infected with any one of the four dengue viruses.

Facts about dengue

  • Dengue is a viral disease caused by  dengue virus (DENV, 1–4 serotypes)
  • Dengue is transmitted by bite of Aedes aegypti mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses.
  • Aedes aegepti  mosquito bites during daylight hours.
  • Person develops symptoms 3-14 days after the infective bite.
  • Patients who are already infected with the dengue virus can transmit the infection to other via Aedes mosquitoes during 4-5 days of onset of symptoms.
  • Dengue prevention and control depends on effective vector control measures.

National Institute of Nutrition

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections; Health and development

In news:

  • National Institute of Nutrition stands by its report on no onion, garlic in its meals
  • The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) said that it stands by its findings certifying mid-day meals without onion and garlic provided by the Akshaya Patra Foundation (APF) in Karnatakaschools as compliant with nutritional norms laid down by the State government.

Do you know?

  • The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Bengaluru, India.
  • The organisation strives to eliminate classroom hunger by implementing the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in the government schools and government-aided schools.
  • Alongside, Akshaya Patra also aims at countering malnutrition and supporting the right to education of socio-economically disadvantaged children..

About National Institute of Nutrition (NIN)

  • NIN was founded by Sir Robert McCarrison in the year 1918 as ‘Beri-Beri’ Enquiry Unit in a single room laboratory at the Pasteur Institute, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.
  • Within a short span of seven years, this unit blossomed into a “Deficiency Disease Enquiry” and later in 1928, emerged as full-fledged “Nutrition Research Laboratories” (NRL) with Dr. McCarrison as its first Director.
  • It was shifted to Hyderabad in 1958.
  • At the time of its golden jubilee in 1969, it was renamed as National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).
  • The NIN is part of Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT/ECOLOGY

TOPIC: General studies 3

  •  International organisations and reports on climate change and its mitigation
  • Climate financing

The Politics of the Climate crisis and People’s movement

Introduction:

The atmosphere now has concentrations of over 415 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide, compared to 280 ppm in pre-industrial times.

Policies and commitments being made by the governments to tackle climate crises shows that most governments and businesses are not interested in dealing with the crises.

In news:

  • A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. shows that global warming during the past half century has contributed to a differential change in income across countries.
  • More recently, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has reported that, worldwide, the abundance of species has reduced by at least one-fifth, about a million species are under threat of extinction in the next few decades and 85% of wetlands have been lost.

 Ignorance of the challenge:

  • The manifestos of the political parties contesting the Indian general election barely took note of questions relating to climate and environment. Instead, it is “business as usual” or “life as usual”.
  • The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister did not hold an emergency meeting to discuss the loss of economic output because of climate change or the effects from loss of biodiversity in India.

Instances of collusion:

  • There have been instances of elite networks taking advantage of the situation to consolidate their control. These networks often involve governments colluding with fossil fuel companies, agro-industrial elites, financial elites and other big businesses that are ignoring climate change and making a fast buck.
  • Fossil fuel companies and politicians have funded misinformation regarding climate directly. The documentary film Merchants of Doubt describes how a handful of scientists have obscured the truth on global warming so that business profits can continue to flow. The fossil fuel industry has also funded politicians, so their words and laws are already bought.
  • The International Monetary Fund estimates in a recent working paper that fossil fuel subsidies were $4.7 trillion in 2015 and estimated to be $5.2 trillion in 2017. Efficient fossil fuel pricing would have reduced global carbon emissions by 28%.
  • The Arctic is melting rapidly and the recent discussions among Arctic countries suggests that even as increasing glacier melt is responsible for opening up shipping in the area, superpowers are angling to access wealth from the oil, gas, uranium and precious metals in the region.

It is the poorest and those without access to power who become victims of the fallout from these situations.
Example- The draft Indian Forest Act of 2019 enhances the political and police power of the forest department and curtails the rights of millions of forest dwellers.

People’s movement:
A large-scale movement for “planet emergency”, climate and ecology is being witnessed.

  • Greta Thunberg has been leading this among school-going children.
    She is a Swedish schoolgirl who, at age 15, began protesting about the need for immediate action to combat climate change outside the Swedish parliament and has since become an outspoken climate activist. She is known for having initiated the school strike for climate movement.
  • Extinction Rebellion is a socio-political movement which uses nonviolent resistance to protest against climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse. It been organising “die-ins” in many parts of Europe and now in Asia.

People’s movements, whether made up of students or adults, cannot be ignored for long and governments will have to pay attention.

Conclusion:

The planet is well past that point where small fixes can help take us on a long path to zero carbon earth. We are now at a stage where we need major overhaul of our lifestyles and patterns of consumption.

The U.K. Parliament became the first recently to declare a climate emergency. It remains to be seen if appropriate actions will follow this declaration. The politics of the climate crisis must undergo a radical transformation.

Connecting the dots:

  • Policies and commitments being made by the governments to tackle climate crises shows that they are not interested in dealing with the crises. In such a scenario people’s movement is the ray of hope. Comment.

NATIONAL/TECHNOLOGY

TOPIC: General studies 2 and 3

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

India’s ongoing transformation towards a Digital Economy

 Background:

India is taking a great digital leap. Having reaped substantial rewards from building up its core digital sectors, such as information technology and business process management, the country is now seizing new digital opportunities in many more sectors, such as agriculture, education, energy, financial services, health care, and logistics. These opportunities could deliver up to $500 billion of economic value by 2025.

 Fast Digitisation facilitated by both Public & Private sectors:

India’s digitisation process has been the second-fastest among the 17 mature and emerging economies we studied. In the last five years alone, the number of Internet subscribers has almost doubled, reaching 560 million.

Both the public and private sectors have played an important role in driving digitization.

  • Many public services are now accessible only when linked to the government’s Aadhaar biometric digital-identification program, in which over 1.2 billion people are now enrolled. Aadhaar has thus helped to propel the development of many other digital services. About 80% of Indians now have digital bank accounts, with the vast majority of government benefits paid directly into Aadhaar-linked accounts.
  • The Goods and Services Tax Network—a government platform for taxing wholesale and retail sales—has likewise created a powerful incentive for businesses to digitize their operations.
  • The private sector has facilitated this process, as competition has helped to reduce data costs by 95% from 2013 to 2017 and to make smartphones affordable.
  • Together with rapid growth in telecom infrastructure, lower costs have also helped to reduce the digital divide: in the last four and a half years, India’s middle- and low-income states have accounted for 45% of the 293 million new Internet subscribers.

 Huge potential:

Some of the sectors where the most value stands to be created—such as financial services, agriculture, health care, logistics, education, and energy—have not traditionally had technology at their core. Each of these sectors could create between $10 billion and $150 billion of incremental economic value in 2025.

  • In financial services, the surge in digital payments is already enabling flow-based lending, whereby actual patterns of receipts and payments are used to evaluate potential borrowers.
    State Bank of India has recorded a 50% increase in lending to small and medium-size enterprises since switching to an automated flow-based system.
  • In agriculture, farmers are not only seizing the credit opportunities created by digital financial services; they are also using digital applications to gain specialised knowhow on, say, optimizing fertilizer and pesticide inputs.
    Moreover, farmers are increasingly selling their produce in online marketplaces, which offer better prices. One such platform, the government’s electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM), is available in 585 locations in 16 states, and could increase the prices realized by farmers by 15%.
  • In health care, companies like Apollo Hospitals are using telemedicine to improve access in rural areas, where doctors are often few and far between. Telemedicine could eventually account for half of all outpatient consultations in India, giving rural citizens access to more qualified practitioners than they would be able to reach in person.
  • In logistics, online freight-forwarding platforms are offering services like instant pricing and booking, cargo tracking, and centralized documentation. Such platforms are already reducing costs and boosting efficiency in what has historically been a highly inefficient sector.

 Way forward:

  • The benefits of digitisation may also extend to workers. This will require retraining, skills upgrading, and redeployment in many cases.
    By 2025, technology could eliminate between 40-45 million mostly routine jobs in areas such as clerical services and data entry. But it will also help to create some 60-65 million higher-quality jobs. Workers will need to be ready to make the shift.
  • The government should continue to use digital technology to improve public services, while working with the private sector to develop further the country’s digital infrastructure.
  • Making data available to entrepreneurs creating useful apps and services would also help.
  • Enacting legal provisions for data privacy and consent-based frameworks.
  • Improving consumer literacy regarding the risks and benefits of digital technologies.

 Conclusion:

Between its huge and growing Internet-consumer base and its eagerness to innovate, India seems well positioned to unleash the dynamism of a truly digital economy. In order to tap the full potential of digitisation the government and the business must work in unison.

Connecting the dots:

  • India in recent times has undergone the process of digitisation at a very fast pace. This has been facilitated by both public and private sectors. Comment.

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