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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th July 2019

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  • July 15, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th July 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Visa-free year-long access for pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib

Part of Prelims and mains GS II International Relations 

In news

  • Pakistan agreed to give year-long visa-free access for Indian pilgrims to the holy Gurdwara of Kartarpur Sahib.
  • It was agreed to allow visa-free travel for the Indian passport-holders and OCI card-holders seven days a week.

Do you know?

  • The Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor between the neighbouring nations of India and Pakistan, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (located in Punjab, India) and GurdwaraDarbar Sahib Kartarpur (in Punjab, Pakistan).
  • Currently under planning, the corridor is intended to allow religious devotees from India to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur, 4.7 kilometres (2.9 miles) from the Pakistan-India border, without a visa.
  • The Kartarpur Corridor was first proposed in early 1999 by the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, respectively, as part of the Delhi–Lahore Bus diplomacy.
  • The corridor will reportedly be completed before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.
  • Currently pilgrims from India have to take a bus to Lahore to get to Kartarpur, which is a 125 km journey, despite the fact that people on the Indian side of the border can physically see GurdwaraDarbar Sahib Kartarpur on the Pakistani side. An elevated platform has also been constructed for the same on the Indian side, where people use binoculars to get a good view.

India set for new lunar trophy hunt

Part of Prelims and mains GS III Science and Tech 

In news

  • Indian mission takes its first step towards touching the moon, with a leggy lander and a six-wheeled rover.
  • The mission will hunt for minerals and water ice deposits that Chandrayaan-1 confirmed.
  • Chandrayaan-2’s journey, beginning at 2.51 a.m. on Monday, will last about 52 days.
  • When it lands on the moon, Chandrayaan-2 will make India the fourth country to safely land on lunar terrain. 
  • No space agency has landed on the south pole of the moon to date, making the landing spot also historic.

About Chandrayaan-2

  • Chandrayaan-2 Called to be the most complex mission from India so far. 
  • Chandrayaan-2 will have two modules stacked together inside a launch vehicle — an orbiter and a lander. It will have a third module, the lunar rover.
  • ISRO has named the lander ‘Vikram’, after India’s space pioneer Vikram Sarabhai and rover ‘Pragyan’, which in Sanskrit means wisdom.
  • The heavy-lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle – Mark III (GSLV Mk III), which will carry Chandryaan-2 to the Moon, is nicknamed as ‘Baahubali’.
  • The first Indian lunar mission to land on Moon is being headed by two women — mission director RituKaridhal and the project director MuthayyaVanitha.
  • Chandrayaan-2 Moon mission will explore for signs of water and helium-3 on the lunar surface and analyze crust samples. The rover will send pictures of the lunar surface within 20 minutes of landing.

Tirupati may run out of water in a month

Part of Prelims and mains GS III Environment and ecology

In news

  • The temple city, which attracts thousands of pilgrims every day, will run out of water in a month, if the monsoon continues to remain elusive.
  • At present, residents receive water in their taps once in three days. With Kalyani dam reaching the dead storage level.
  • After, Bangluru, Chandigarh, and Chennai, Tirupati will be the next Indian city to face water crisis. 

Nearly half of sex offence cases not being investigated in time

Part of Prelims and mains GS II Social Justice 

In news

  • Investigation into nearly half the sexual offences cases are not being completed within the stipulated 60-day period, according to an analysis of crime data of seven States. 
  • In many States, the fast-track courts designated to handle rape cases are also handling other criminal cases leading to delay in verdicts.
  • The Supreme Court noted that trial had been completed in only 4% of the 24,000 cases of sexual offences that were filed from January to June.

Steps Taken by Government

  • The Home Ministry launched an analytics tool — Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) to monitor and track time-bound investigation. It is part of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and System (CCTNS) that connects over 15,000 police stations across the country.
  • To check sexual crimes against women and children, the Centre approved the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018 last year which prescribed the time-limit for completion of investigation.

Speed restrictions and sound alerts mooted for protection of dolphins

Part of Prelims and mains GS III Environment and ecology 

In news

  • Restricting the speeds of vessels and blowing sirens and horns is how the Ministry of Shipping plans to safeguard the population of the Ganges River Dolphin, in the country’s one dolphin reserve through which National Waterway-1 connecting Haldia to Varanasi passes.
  • The other mitigation measures, according to the Ministry, include fitting vessels with propeller guards and dolphin deflectors to minimise dolphin accidents and using non-toxic paints for painting vessels.

The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS)

  • The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS), from Sultanganj to Kahalganj on the Ganga in Bihar is the only dolphin sanctuary in the country.
  • Experts have pegged the population of the Ganges dolphin in VGDS from 150 to 200.
  • The habitat of the Ganges dolphin is not limited to the sanctuary.

Criticism

Dolphins are difficult to spot and even after they are spotted if sirens are sounded it will not only disturb them more but also a number of other migratory birds and aquatic fauna.

Do you know?

About Gangetic Dolphin

  • Ganges River Dolphin is placed under “Endangered Category” in the IUCN Red List. 
  • The Ganges River dolphin, or susu, inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. 
  • It is threatened by removal of river water and siltation arising from deforestation, pollution and entanglement in fisheries nets, etc.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Ecological perils of discounting the future

Background 

  • In a report last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) called the Chennai floods of 2015 a “manmade disaster”, a pointer to how the encroachment of lakes and river floodplains has driven India’s sixth largest city to this ineluctable situation. 
  • The Chennai floods are a symbol of consistent human failings and poor urban design which are common to most urban centres in India if not urban centres across the world. 
  • Now, Chennai is in the midst of another crisis — one of water scarcity.

Visibility of environmental degradation 

Unlike issues such as traffic congestion or crime which are visible, environmental degradation is not what most people can easily see or feel in their every day lives. 

Therefore, when the consequences of such degradation begin to wreak havoc, it becomes difficult to draw the correlation between nature’s revenge with human failings. 

Causes of Water crisis throughout India 

  • In Chennai, more than 30 waterbodies of significance have disappeared in the past century. 
  • Concretisation or the increase in paved surfaces has affected the percolation of rainwater into the soil, thereby depleting groundwater levels to a point of no return.
  • Urbanisation without vision; Urbanisation at the cost of reclaiming water bodies is a pan-India phenomenon. 
  • In Bengaluru, 15 lakes have lost their ecological character in less than five years according to a High Court notice. 
  • The lakes, which are now encroached areas, find use as a bus stand, a stadium and, quite ironically, as an office of the Pollution Control Board. 
  • In Telangana, the byzantine network of tanks and lakes built by the Kakatiya dynasty has disappeared over the years. 

Some of the successful case studies 

Mission Kakatiya

  • In Telangana, tanks have been the lifeline of the State because of its geographical positioning. 
  • The State’s topography and rainfall pattern have made tank irrigation an ideal type of irrigation by storing and regulating water flow for agricultural use.
  • The Chief Minister of Telangana launched a massive rejuvenation movement in form of “Mission Kakatiya” which involves the restoration of irrigation tanks and lakes/minor irrigation sources built by the Kakatiya dynasty. 
  • From the perspective of inter-generational justice, this is a move towards giving future generations in the State their rightful share of water and, therefore, a life of dignity. 

Sustainable hydraulic model

  • The city of Hyderabad is now moving towards a sustainable hydraulic model with some of the best minds in the country working on it. 
  • This model integrates six sources of water in a way that even the most underdeveloped areas of the city can have equitable access to water resources and the groundwater levels restored in order to avoid a calamity of the kind that has gripped Chennai now.
  • Hyderabad and the larger state of Telangana rebuild its resilience through a combination of political will and well-designed policies such as the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme and Mission.

Corporate social responsibility and PPP

  • Bengaluru reclaimed Kundalahalli lake (once a landfill) through corporate social responsibility funds in a Public Private Partnership model.

Way forward

  • Other urban centres should not shy away from adopting, remodelling and implementing some of the best water management practices to avoid disaster. 
  • The is tendency of policymakers to discount the future and they are obsessed of focussing on the here and now.
  • It is estimated that in just 30 years from now, half of India will be living in cities therefore long term vision is necessary.

Conclusion

  • If we truly envision a great future for this country, we must not risk the lives of half of our people and the next generations who could be facing a life in cities parched by drought, stranded by floods, mortified by earthquakes or torn by wars over fresh water.
  • What has happened in Chennai now or what happened in Kerala last year in the form of floods are not a case of setting alarm bells ringing, but one of explosions. 
  • If we do not wake up now, we have to be prepared to face the consequences of nature wreaking great havoc on humanity. We would not need nuclear bombs for our extermination.

Connecting the dots:

  • Water crisis in major Indian cities is a wake-up call for policy makers. What are examples of sustainable steps being taken to contain the future crisis?

NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Karnataka conundrum: Resignation, Disqalification and defection 

Introduction

  • In the backdrop of the ongoing crisis in Karnataka, Supreme Court ordered the Speaker of Karnataka to not to decide the issue of MLAs’ resignation or disqualification.
  • It was argued in court that “the rebel MLAs are trying to avoid disqualification by tendering resignations.”
  • This is surprising, as the penalty for defection is loss of legislative office. 
  • Quitting the current post before joining another party is a legal and moral obligation.

Disqualification vs Resignation

  • A disqualified member cannot become a Minister without getting elected again, whereas one who resigns can be inducted into an alternative Cabinet without being a member. 
  • Accepting a resignation is a simple function of being satisfied if it is voluntary, while disqualification is decided on evidence and inquiry.   
  • Converting resignation into a disqualification matter is an attempt to deny a member’s right to quit his seat in the legislature before joining another party, even if the crossing-over is a politically expedient measure. 

Role of Speaker 

  • The Speaker already enjoys extraordinary powers under the Constitution. 
  • In addition to immunity from judicial scrutiny for legislative matters, such as whether a Bill is a money bill, presiding officers get to decide whether a member has incurred disqualification under the anti-defection law. 
  • Though the decision is subject to judicial review, many Speakers have evaded judicial scrutiny by merely not acting on disqualification matters. 
  • The question whether the Speaker’s inaction can be challenged in court is pending before another Constitution Bench. 
  • Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have instances of Speakers not acting on disqualification questions for years.

Do you know?

What is the anti-defection law?

  • Aaya Ram Gaya Ram was a phrase that became popular in Indian politics after a Haryana MLA Gaya Lal changed his party thrice within the same day in 1967.  
  • The anti-defection law sought to prevent such political defections which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.
  • The Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985. 

Tenth schedule

  • It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House. 
  • A legislator is deemed to have defected if he either voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or disobeys the directives of the party leadership on a vote. 
  • This implies that a legislator defying (abstaining or voting against) the party whip on any issue can lose his membership of the House.  The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies.

Are there any exceptions under the law?

  • The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger. 
  • In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.

Connecting the dots:

  • The anti-defection law and issuance of whips by political parties curtail the freedom of independence of mps. Critically analyse.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  1. Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  2. 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 about The Kartarpur corridor,

  1. The Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib and GurdwaraDarbar Sahib Kartarpur.
  2. The Sikh shrine of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib is located in Punjab, Pakistan and GurdwaraDarbar Sahib Kartarpur in Punjab, India.

Select the correct statements

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about ‘Gangetic Dolphin’ 

  1. Its IUCN status is “Critically endangered” .
  2. It is found only in Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS)

Select the correct statements

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

Q.3) The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) is located in,

  1. Uttar Pradesh 
  2. Bihar
  3. Jharkhand 
  4. None of the above 

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