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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th August 2019

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  • August 5, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th August 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


One Nation-one Ration Card scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS- III – Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping

In News

  • Centre launched the One Nation-One Ration Card scheme on a pilot basis in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat
  • Families who have food security cards can buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in these states. 
  • Their ration cards should be linked with Aadhar Number to avail this service. 
  • The Centre is intended to extend the programme to all states by August next year so that the portability of the food security card implemented.  
  • The national portability of ration cards will ensure all beneficiaries especially the migrants in getting access to PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice

Quick reaction surface-to-air missiles (QRSAM)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS III – Security issues

In News

  • DRDO successfully flight-tested its state-of-the-art QRSAM against live aerial targets from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur.
  • The all-weather and all-terrain missile, can be mounted on a truck and stored in a canister, is equipped with electronic counter measures against jamming by aircraft radars 
  • The systems are equipped with indigenously-developed Phased array radar, Inertial Navigation System, Data Link & RF seeker.
  • The system is being developed for Indian Army with search and track on move capability with very short reaction time
  • QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 25-30 km

Genome India initiative

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS III – Science & Technology

In News

  • The Department of Biotechology (DBT) plans to scan nearly 20,000 Indian genomes over the next five years, in a two-phase exercise, and develop diagnostic tests that can be used to test for cancer.
  • The programme is expected to formally launch in October, with an estimated budget of ₹250-350 crore for the Phase-1.
  • The first phase involves sequencing the complete genomes of nearly 10,000 Indians from all corners of the country and capture the biological diversity of India
  • In the next phase, about 10,000 “diseased individuals” would have their genomes sequenced. 
  • This vast data would be compared using machine learning techniques to identify genes that can predict cancer risk and other diseases that could be influenced by genetic anomalies.
  • Agencies involved: 22 institutions, including those from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the DBT
  • However, the data generated would be accessible to researchers anywhere for analysis. 
  • This would be through a proposed National Biological Data Centre envisaged in a policy called the ‘Biological Data Storage, Access and Sharing Policy’, which is still in early stages of discussion.

(MAINS FOCUS)


AGRICULTURE/SOLAR ENERGY

TOPIC:

General Studies 2

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

General Studies 3

  • Infrastructure: Energy

From Plate to Plough

Context :

  • Helping farmers produce solar energy can help realise the government’s target of doubling farmers’ incomes.
  • In July, two interesting things happened that can help Indian farmers to a large extent in augmenting their incomes
    • The First one,  the Union Finance Minister (FM) in her maiden budget speech asked why the annadata (farmer) cannot become the urjadata (producer of solar power)
    • The second one, in Parliament, the agriculture minister for state, responding to a question on the prime minister’s promise of doubling farmers’ income (DFI) by 2022, admitted that the existing set of policies cannot double farmers’ real incomes by 2022.

Concern:

  • Existing set of policies cannot double farmers’ real incomes by 2022.

Doubling the Farmer’s income

  • Committee headed by Ashok Dalwai in April 2016 was setup.
  • The Committee clarified real incomes will need to be doubled over seven years (over a base income of 2015-16), which requires a growth rate of 10.4 per cent per year. 
  • The Committee submitted its final report in September 2018. It comprises of 14 volumes (almost 3,000 pages) and 619 recommendations.
  • The FM’s statement on the annadata becoming the urjadata, the policy has the potential to double farmers incomes within a year or two. 

In the Past:

  • The PM has also set a target of producing 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
  • He wants the country to be one of the frontrunners in the International Solar Alliance for clean energy. 
  • So far, the model that has been adopted to develop solar power is inviting bids from large business players. And big players did enter, ranging from Mahindra and Mahindra to the Adanis and so on. 
  • Some of them, who entered early into power purchase agreements (PPA) with state governments, had to burn their hands when the costs came down and state governments forced them to revise the costs of PPA downwards, upsetting their economic calculations. 
  • But this model of generating solar power was not very inclusive. The land is locked for solar panels for almost 25 years, and the benefits go only to a few investors.

What can be done?

  • The alternative model is to help farmers produce solar power on their lands, making annadata an urjadata. 
  • This model will be much more inclusive and can help augment their incomes significantly. 
  • There are two variants of this
    • One, replace all pump-sets, especially diesel ones, with solar pumps and the excess power generated through solar panels can be purchased by state governments at a price that gives the farmer a good margin over his cost of producing solar power. 
    • Second, encourage farmers to grow “solar trees” on their lands at a height of about 10-12 feet in a manner that enough sunlight keeps coming to plants below. Under this variant, the farmer can keep growing two irrigated crops as he has been doing, but the solar tree generates a lot of excess power that can be purchased by the state government. 
  • The power generated under the second variant is multiple times more than under the first variant, and therefore the income augmentation can also be several times more than under the first variant.

Challenges to adopt this model

  • The problem is of mobilising enough capital to instal these solar trees. In one acre you can have 500 solar trees in such a manner that even tractors can move through those and farmers can keep growing their normal two crops. It does not impact their productivity as there is ample sunlight coming from the sides for photosynthesis.
  • The second pre-condition is that the state should be ready to do the power purchase agreement.

Key notes:

  • The Delhi government actually announced a policy to that effect. As per their calculations, 500 trees can be put on an acre of farmer’s land; the investment in solar panels (trees) will be done by other business people. The only thing that the farmer has to assure is that for 25 years he will not convert his land to other uses
  • The economic calculations suggest that farmers can be given Rs one lakh/acre per annum as net income, with a six per cent increase every year for the next 25 years. This can easily double their income.

About Solar energy in India:

  • India facing problems in fulfilling its energy demand, solar energy can play an important role in providing energy security.
  • With its pollution free nature, virtually inexhaustible supply and global distribution, solar energy is very attractive energy resource.
  • India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC’s) commitment include 100 GW of solar power out of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022

Advantages

  • Solar Energy is available throughout the day which is the peak load demand time.
  • Solar energy conversion equipments have longer life and need lesser maintenance and hence provide higher energy infrastructure security.
  • Low running costs & grid tie-up capital returns (Net Metering).
  • Unlike conventional thermal power generation from coal, they do not cause pollution and generate clean power.
  • Abundance of free solar energy in almost all parts of country.
  • No overhead wires- no transmission loss

Challenges in adoption

  • India’s solar story is largely built over imported products.
  • India’s domestic content requirement clause ia facing legal challenge at WTO.
  • India is facing challenge to balance Prioritising domestic goals and WTO commitments.
  • The dumping of products is leading to profit erosion of local manufacturers.
  • Indian domestic manufacturers aren’t technically and economically strong to compete with Chinese companies.
  • China’s strong manufacturing base is giving stiff challenge to domestic manufacturer.
  • Land availability in India for solar plant is less due to high population density.
  • India’s solar waste is estimated to be around 1.8 million by 2050 also needs to be tackled.

Government initiatives

  • Ministry of new and renewable energy is the nodal agency to tackle India’s renewable energy issues.
  • National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenge.
  • The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is a Non-Banking Financial Institution under the administrative control of this Ministry for providing term loans for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
  • National institute of solar energy is created as autonomous institution under MoNRE is apex body for R&D.
  • Establishment of solar parks and ultra major solar power project and enhancing grid connectivity infrastructure.
  • Promotion of canal bank and canal tank solar infrastructure.
  • Sustainable rooftop implementation of Solar transfiguration of India (SRISTI) scheme to promote rooftop solar power projects in india.
  • Suryamitra programme to prepare qualified workforce.
  • Renewable purchase obligation for large energy consumer customers.
  • National green energy programme and green energy corridor.

Conclusion

  • Strong financial measures are required to finance the solar projects, innovative steps like green bonds, institutional loans and clean energy fund can play a crucial role.
  • Promotion of research and development in renewable energy sector, especially in storage technology.
  • Proper mechanism should be provided to tackle China’s dumping of solar equipments.
  • Framework to avoid unnecessary delays in policy decision making and implementation.

Connecting the dots:

  1. To conserve energy is to assure for a sustainable future’. Critically analyse.
  2. Discuss the challenges and solution in harnessing solar energy in India?

INTERNAL SECURITY

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Challenges to internal security
  • Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges
  • Security challenges and their management

Mob lynching

Context:

  • Rajasthan’s effort to criminalise mob lynching is a good start
  • The Rajasthan government has introduced the Rajasthan Protection From Lynching Bill, 2019. If it gets passed, Rajasthan will be the second State after Manipur to have a dedicated law criminalising mob lynching as a special offence, in addition to other offences under the Indian Penal Code.

What is lynching?

  • Lynching is defined as an act or series of acts of violence or aiding, abetting or attempting an act of violence, whether spontaneous or planned, by a mob (two or more persons) on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political affiliation and ethnicity.
  • Lynching is an egregious manifestation of prejudice, intolerance, and contempt towards the rule of law. 
  • There have been many incidences of Mob Lynching for issues with respect to cow, children kidnappers , etc  and not only common people but also the police personnel became victims of it.
  • Some of the cases of mob lynching: 
    • ‘Go to Pakistan’: 20–25 men barge into Gurgaon home, assault family
    • Assam: Mob thrashes man in Biswanath Chariali for allegedly carrying Beef; forced to eat Pork
    • Jharkhand: Old ox dies, mob kills a man, three injured are booked for bovine slaughter
  • Amnesty International India documented 721 such incidents between 2015 and 2018. 
  • Last year alone, it tracked 218 hate crimes, 142 of which were against Dalits, 50 against Muslims, 40 against women, and eight each against Christians, Adivasis, and transgenders. 

Causes of mob lynching

  • Prejudices in Indian society are age old and deep rooted. These prejudices are based on various identities like race, gender, caste, class, religion, etc. 
  • Social media or technological advances help in the process of ‘confirmation  bias’ – it is the confirmation of a prejudice or a bias
  • The strategic silence of the State and the ineffective law and order machinery has further given legitimacy to mob lynching.
  • Lack of digital literacy among common people.
  • Political mobilization of fringe groups and Politicization of lynching and strategic silence.

The Supreme Court condemned mob lynching incidents across the country and urged Parliament to enact a law to deal with the crime that threatens rule of law and the country’s social fabric.

Supreme Court in the case of Tehseen Poonawala v Union of India, has provided a 11-point prescription for preventive, remedial and punitive measures and has asked Parliament to legislate a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same.

  • The state governments shall designate a senior police officer in each district for taking measures to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.
  • The state governments shall immediately identify districts, sub-divisions and villages where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past.
  • The nodal officers shall bring to the notice of the DGP any inter-district co-ordination issues for devising a strategy to tackle lynching and mob violence related issues.
  • It shall be the duty of every police officer to cause a mob to disperse, which, in his opinion, has a tendency to cause violence in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise
  • Central and the state governments should broadcast on radio and television and other media platforms including the official websites that lynching and mob violence shall invite serious consequence .
  • Curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platforms. Register FIR under relevant provisions of law against persons who disseminate such messages.
  • Ensure that there is no further harassment of the family members of the victims.
  • State governments shall prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme.
  • Cases of lynching and mob violence shall be specifically tried by designated court/fast track courts earmarked for that purpose in each district. The trial shall preferably be concluded within six months.
  • To set a stern example in cases of mob violence and lynching, the trial court must ordinarily award maximum sentence upon conviction of the accused person.
  • If it is found that a police officer or an officer of the district administration has failed to fulfill his duty, it will be considered as an act of deliberate negligence.

Rajasthan Protection From Lynching Bill, 2019:

  • The Bill follows the Supreme Court’s recommendations in authorising the setting up of special courts, appointment of a dedicated nodal officer, and stipulating enhanced punishments. 
  • its scope is more comprehensive as it not only criminalises acts of lynching, dissemination of ‘offensive material’ and fostering of a ‘hostile environment’, but also provides for relief, legal aid, compensation and rehabilitation.
  • some of the Bill’s provisions might attract legal scrutiny. Section 8(c) of the Bill says that whoever commits an act of lynching, where the act leads to the death of the victim, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for life and a fine not be less than Rs. 1,00,000 and which may extend to Rs. 5,00,000
  • Section 9 of the Rajasthan Bill stipulates, inter alia , the same punishment for lynching and “attempting” an act of lynching. 

Conclusion

  • Lynching is an egregious manifestation of prejudice, intolerance, and contempt towards the rule of law. 
  • With all its limitations, the Rajasthan Bill is evidence of political will by the State government. It is expected that deliberations help in the enactment of a more constitutionally robust Bill. 
  • However, legislation cannot act as a panacea; what is required is political commitment. It is high time that the other States and the Centre show some urgency so that creeping threats are prevented from metastasising into an out-of-control monster

Connecting the dots:

  1. For a demographically diverse country such as India, hate crimes are a disaster. Discuss.
  2. India is becoming a destination of mob lynching. Is it true? Discuss the causes and what could be the possible solution to stop mob lynching.

(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) One Nation One ration card scheme is being implemented by which Union Ministry?

  1. Ministry of electronics and information technology
  2. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
  3. Ministry of Food Processing Industries
  4. Ministry of Rural Development

Q.2) Consider the following statements about Quick reaction surface-to-air missiles (QRSAM)

  1. It is being jointly developed by India and Israel
  2. The system is being developed for Indian Army with search and track on move capability with very short reaction time
  3. QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 250-300 km

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Genome India Initiative

  1. 22 institutions, including those from CSIR and Department of Biotechnology is involved in this initiative 
  2. The data generated from this initiative would be accessible to researchers anywhere for analysis through National Biological Data Centre 

 Which of the statement(s) given above is / are correct?

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

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