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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th June 2019

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  • June 28, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th June 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


National mission on natural language translation soon

Part of Prelims and Mains GS III Science and Tech  

In news

The Ministry of Electronics and IT will soon place before the Union Cabinet a proposal for Natural Language Translation — one of the key missions identified by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

The national mission on natural language translation

  • The national mission on natural language translation aims to make science and technology accessible to all by facilitating access to teaching and researching material bilingually — in English and in one’s native Indian language.
  • To achieve this, the government plans to leverage a combination of machine translation and human translation.
  • The IT ministry is the lead agency for implementation of the mission along with Ministry of Human Resource Development and Department of Science and Technology.

Significance

  • Translation activities can also help generate employment for educated unemployed.
  • The mission would help not just students who find it difficult to access knowledge because of language barrier, but also teachers, authors, publishers, translation software developers and general readers.

PM-STIAC

The PM- STIAC is an overarching body that identifies challenges in certain areas of science and technology.


Police station in Satara tops SMART police survey

Part of Prelims and Mains GS II Polity and governance   

In news

  • Recently the Quality council of India, executed a survey based on the SMART police concept.
  • In the survey , the Kalu police station in Rajasthan’s Bikaner topped the survey followed by PS in Andaman  and West Bengal.
  • The survey was commissioned by Union Home Ministry and was executed by the Quality council of India.

Do you know?

About SMART Police 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014  called for making the police a ‘SMART’ force — Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive, Techno savvy and Trained.

About QCI

Quality Council of India (QCI) was set up in 1997 by Government of India jointly with Indian Industry as an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

Indian industry is represented in QCI by three premier industry associations namely ASSOCHAM; CII; and FICCI.


(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 3

  • Government policies and interventions
  • Economic Growth and Development

UK Sinha Panel on MSMEs

In news:

The RBI-appointed U K Sinha panel on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) has made a slew of sensible recommendations. From a new code to rid the sector of inspector raj to improving credit access and tackling distress, the report covers a lot of ground. 

MSMEs: Key engine of growth

The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India is not only a key engine of growth, contributing more than 28% of the GDP and about 45% to manufacturing output. It is also a true reflection of economics where people really matter. Providing employment to about 111 million people, the sector’s health is crucial to the economy’s vitality and society’s well being.
Multiple challenges faced by the sector includes the absence of formalisation, stilted access to credit, delayed payments and infrastructural bottlenecks.

Recommendations:

  • 13-year-old law, the MSME Development Act, 2006 — be changed to prioritise market facilitation and ease of doing business.
    Observing that many Indian start-ups that are at the forefront of innovation are drawn to look overseas, given the conducive business environment and the availability of infrastructure and exit policies, the committee suggest that a new law ought to address the sector’s biggest bottlenecks, including access to credit and risk capital. 
  • Reimagining solutions to improve credit flow to MSMEs.
    Repurposing the Small Industries Development Bank of India. In its expanded role, it is envisaged that the SIDBI could not only deepen credit markets for MSMEs in under-served regions by being a provider of comfort to lenders including NBFCs and micro-finance institutions, but also become a market-maker for SME debt.
  • The panel has made a case for greater adoption of technology-facilitated solutions to a plethora of problems encountered by the sector. 
  • To address the issue of delayed payments, the mandatory uploading of invoices above a specified amount to an information utility has been recommended. The aim is to name and shame buyers of goods and services from MSMEs to expedite settlements to suppliers. 
  • Expediting the integration of information on the Government e-Marketplace, or GeM, platform with the Trade Receivables Discounting System. The goal here  is to boost liquidity at MSMEs. 
  • Banks should switch to cash flow-based lending, especially once account aggregators are operational and able to provide detailed data on borrowings. The report has suggested banks to base credit decisions on cash flow rather than collateral.
  • Doubling collateral-free loans for MSMEs to Rs 20 lakh, raising the loan limit sanctioned under Mudra to Rs 20 lakh, creating a stressed asset fund of Rs 5,000 crore and a government-sponsored fund of funds of Rs 10,000 crore to support MSME equity.

Conclusion:

The RBI and the Centre should act on the above recommendations in order to help actualise the sector’s true economic potential.

Connecting the dots:

  • The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector in India is a key engine of growth. In this light discuss the recommendations of UK Sinha panel.

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

TOPIC: General studies 3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Disaster and disaster management.
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Funding Disaster Management

Background:

Cyclone Fani wreaked havoc in Odisha in May last year. In the current year, more than 10 states have faced drought conditions. Natural disasters are increasingly affecting large parts of the country.
The impact of these is asymmetric as the poor suffer more.
Effective management of disasters is not only required for preserving growth, but equally for addressing poverty and reducing inequality. The sine qua non for effective disaster management is adequate funding.

Three stages in disaster management:

  • Disaster mitigation—taking long-term steps such as putting in place early warning systems and rainwater harvesting structures to reduce the impact of disasters. 
  • Disaster relief—affected persons are provided assistance and essential services are restored. 
  • Disaster reconstruction—damaged infrastructure is rebuilt. 

The Disaster Management Act, 2005, requires that a disaster management plan and a mitigation plan be formulated at the district, state and national levels.
Each is to be supported at every level by disaster relief and mitigation funds that must be set up.
Thus, six plans and six funds are required to be created to manage disasters in India.

Issue:

Disaster management plans have been formulated. The National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Funds (SDRF) have been set up. However, mitigation plans have not been prepared at any level. Also, the corresponding funds have not been set up.
When disasters occur, states are driven to unorthodox sources of funding for following reasons. 

  • The NDRF through which the centre assists states when they face severe calamities is available only for disaster relief and not for mitigation or restoration. A similar provision applies to the SDRF.
    States must meet outlays for disaster mitigation and restoration, which are as important as relief, on their own. 
  • State governments underestimate the probability of adverse events occurring. They do not make adequate provision in their budgets for mitigation and reconstruction. 
  • The borrowing capacity of states is constrained under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.

Unorthodox measures adopted by states:

  • The Kerala government levies a cess of 1% on its SGST for up to two years after approval from GST council. Such a cess will not be eligible for input tax credit and militates against the very idea of GST. Further, other states may make similar requests. No longer will it be “one tax for one nation”. This option is thus not sustainable.
  • Kerala issued rupee-denominated bonds overseas (masala bonds). Such an instrument of debt infringes Article 293(1) of the Constitution, which prohibits state governments from borrowing outside the territory of India. 

Way ahead:

States facing calamities of rare severity should receive additional assistance. Such assistance should be drawn from a strengthened NDRF, which is financed by the National Calamity Contingency Duty (NCCD), the proceeds of which have fallen sharply after the introduction of GST. As its own resources are limited, the centre may consider expanding the tax base of the NCCD. This is a sustainable option to fund disaster management nationally. It will enable the creation of a national disaster mitigation fund as envisaged and required.
In parallel, India’s states should set up state disaster mitigation funds on their own.

Connecting the dots:

  • When disasters occur, states are driven to unorthodox sources of funding. In this light highlight the importance of funding disaster management.

(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) The national mission on natural language translation will be implemented by,

  1. Department of Science and Technology
  2. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  3. Ministry of Human Resource Development
  4. All of the above

Q.2) Consider the following statements 

  1. Recently the Quality council of India, executed a survey based on the SMART police concept.
  2. Quality Council of India (QCI) was set up by Government of India jointly with Indian Industry as an autonomous body.

Select the Correct statements

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

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