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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th November 2019

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  • November 26, 2019
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th November 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th November 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Gamosa

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I- Culture

In News

  • It is rectangular cloth, typically of red and white, used in a variety of ritual actions in Assamese culture. 
  • It is valued as a gift for visitors, used as a scarf, anti-dust mask, wrapped around the head as a turban.
  • Conservationists are now banking on this cultural icon to carry forward the message of turtle conservation, with gamosas woven with turtle images.
  • This has been done under a project initiated by the Wildlife Conservation Society/Turtle Survival Alliance and funded by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund.
  • A part of the money from this gamosa would go to conservation of rare turtles such as the Assam Roofed Turtle (Panghshurasylhetensis).

Do You Know?

  • Assam’s ‘Gamosa’ and a semi-glutinous winter rice variety Chokuwa have earned the coveted geographical indications (GI) recognition in 2019 as proof of their unique geographical origins, thereby getting legal protection to prevent their unauthorized use. 
  • The Muga silk was the state’s first product to get the tag in 2007. In 2015, the pungent KarbiAnglong ginger and the juicy Tezpur litchi got the recognition.

Etalin Hydroelectric Project

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

In News

  • The Centre has recommended a biodiversity study of the proposed 3,097 MW Etalin Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh by a credible international institute since the current environmental impact assessment was found to be “completely inadequate”.
  • It involves diversion of 1,165.66 hectares of forest land for the construction of the mega project in the State’s Dibang Valley district 
  • The project, estimated to cost ₹25,296.95 crore, is proposed to be completed in seven years but would entail felling 2,80,677 trees
  • The project threatens the existence of six globally-endangered mammal species. The area also has 680 species of birds, which is about 56% of the total avian species found in India.
  • The project area falls under the “richest bio-geographical province of the Himalayan zone” and would be located at the junction of the Palaearctic, Indo-Chinese and Indo-Malayan bio-geographic regions.

Food Standards & Safety

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Health

In News

  • TheData released by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on enforcement of norms has noted that 3.7% of the samples collected and analysed were found unsafe, 15.8% sub-standard and 9% samples had labelling defects.
  • 1,06,459 samples were analysed (7% increase compared to previous year), whereby for the first time the data had been compiled for unsafe, substandard and labelling defects separately
  • There has been a 36% increase in civil cases launched and a 67% increase in the number of cases where penalties were imposed
  • Ten States/UTs that have performed well include Uttarakhand, Goa, Bihar, Sikkim, Gujarat and Telangana.
  • Ten States that have performed poorly include Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Punjab.
  • Many of the poorly performing States have not been able to put in place full-time officers and do not have proper testing laboratories
  • The data released would help authorities take precise corrective and preventive action.

About FSSAI

  • It is an autonomous statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the administrative Ministry of FSSAI.
  • It lays down science based standards for articles of food and regulating manufacturing, processing, distribution, sale and import of food so as to ensure safe and wholesome food for human consumption.

Coal bed Methane

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Energy

In News

  • Union Ministry of Coal has asked the state-run coal miner Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic metres) per day of coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the next 2 to 3 years
  • India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world, and CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel.
  • Coal Bed Methane (CBM) is an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal deposits or coal seams. CMB is formed during the process of coalification, the transformation of plant material into coal. The methane is usually held in place by water pressure.
  • The methane is held underground within the coal and is extracted by drilling into the coal seam and removing the groundwater. The resulting drop in pressure causes the methane to be released from the coal.
  • India’s CBM resources are estimated at around 92 trillion cubic feet (TCF), or 2,600 billion cubic metres (BCM)
  • The country’s coal and CBM reserves are found in 12 states of India, with the Gondwana sediments of eastern India holding the bulk.
  • CBM can be used for power generation, as compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel, as feedstock for fertilisers, industrial uses such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants, and for methanol production.

Constitution Day

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II- Polity

In News

  • The yearlong nationwide activities on Constitution Day are being launched to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly, beginning November 26, 2019.
  • On 26 November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
  • While Constitution Day is not a public holiday, various departments of the Government of India celebrate the day. Earlier, the day was commemorated as National Law Day. This was after a resolution was passed by the Supreme Court Bar Association, a lawyers’ body, in 1979
  • The day was announced as the Constitution Day on November 19, 2015 by the Government of India. The announcement came while laying the foundation stone of the B. R. Ambedkar’s Statue of Equality memorial in Mumbai.
  • It is aimed at reiterating and reorienting the citizens towards the values and principles expressed in the Constitution and to create awareness of Fundamental Duties as enshrined in the Constitution. 
  • The year 2015 also celebrated the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar. According to the government notification, Constitution Day was also a tribute to Ambedkar.

Bodoland

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

In News

  • The central government extended the ban on the Assam-based insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 by five more years for its involvement in violent activities and for joining hands with anti-India forces.
  • Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam, making up over 5-6 per cent of the state’s population. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.
  • The Bodos have had a long history of separatist demands, marked by armed struggle
  • In 1987, the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) renewed the demand. “Divide Assam fifty-fifty”, was a call given by the ABSU
  • The unrest was a fallout of the Assam Movement (1979-85), whose culmination — the Assam Accord — addressed the demands of protection and safeguards for the “Assamese people”, leading the Bodos to launch a movement to protect their own identity
  • The Bodo Accord was signed in 2003 which resulted in the establishment of a Bodoland Territorial Council under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

Miscellaneous

Rohtang Tunnel

  • The Rohtang Tunnel, when complete (by sep 2020), will cut through the mighty PirPanjal range and become the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet
  • It would have been completed at least four years earlier, but for a massive torrent of water encountered inside the tunnel.
  • For now, the tunnel provides a temporary winter link to the outside world not only to residents of Lahaul and Spiti but also to those living in Zanskar Valley of Ladakh.
  • The project also has significant strategic implications for the military as it will allow access beyond Rohtang Pass even in peak winters. 
  • All-winter connectivity to Ladakh, however, is still some time away as more tunnels will have to be built to tackle the high passes which fall beyond Rohtang.

(MAINS FOCUS)


ECONOMY

TOPIC: 

General Studies 3:

  • Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers
  • Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping;

Consumer Expenditure Survey

  • The government announced that in view of “data quality issues” the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation had decided not to release the results of the all-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) during 2017-2018.

Consumer Expenditure Survey

  • CES is traditionally a quinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the government’s National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) that is designed to collect information on the consumption spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural. 

How does it helps?

  • The data gathered in this exercise reveals the average expenditure on goods (food and non-food) and services and helps generate estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) as well as the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes.

Why controversy?

  • The data revealed a decline in the MPCE, making it the first such drop since 1972-73. In real terms (adjusted for inflation) the MPCE slid by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-2012 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-2018. While the inflation-adjusted consumption expenditure in rural areas declined by 8.8% over the six-year period, urban households reported a marginal 2% increase

Uses of CES:

  • Vital in gauging the demand dynamics of the economy as well 
  • For understanding the shifting priorities in terms of baskets of goods and services
  • In assessing living standards and growth trends across multiple strata. 
  • Helping policymakers spot and address possible structural anomalies that may cause demand to shift in a particular manner in a specific socio-economic or regional cohort of the population, 
  •  Providing pointers to producers of goods and providers of services, 
  • Used by the government in rebasing the GDP and other macro-economic indicators.

2011 Survey:

  • The survey showed that average urban MPCE (at Rs 2,630) was about 84% higher than average rural MPCE (Rs 1,430) for the country as a whole. 
  • Food accounted for about 53% of the value of the average rural Indian household’s consumption during 2011-12, in the case of urban households it accounted for only 42.6% of the average consumption budget. 
  • Average protein intake per capita per day was seen to rise steadily with MPCE levels in rural India from 43 g for the bottom 5% of population ranked by MPCE to 91 g for the top 5%, and in urban India from 44 g for the bottom 5% to about 87 g for the top 5%.
  • Education accounted for 3.5% of the rural household’s average spending, an urban household spent almost 7% of its monthly consumption budget on it.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th November 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th November 2019

Src: The Hindu

Way forward:

  • The Central government decided to junk the survey findings. 
  • Govt also decided to separately examining the feasibility of conducting the next Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) in 2020-2021 and 2021-22 after incorporating all data quality refinements in the survey process.

Conclusion:

  • With the Advisory Committee on National Accounts Statistics also having separately recommended that 2017-18 would not be used as an appropriate year for rebasing of the GDP series, the very credibility of GDP data going forward could come under greater scrutiny.

Connecting the dots:

  • How do consumer spending surveys help gauge demand and growth trends?Analyse

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Hong Kong protests

Context:

  • The Hong Kong administration led by Carrie Lam suffered a stinging setback on Sunday when voters rejected outright establishment candidates in elections to the city’s 18 district councils. 
  • Ms. Lam herself had indicated that the vote would be a proxy referendum on the way she handled months-long street protests, saying that a silent majority backed her administration. 
  • The protesters asked voters to express their support for the agitation through the vote to the district councils, the only authority in the city being selected by full universal suffrage.

Protests:

  • The 2019 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) movement, are an ongoing series of demonstrations in Hong Kong triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government
  • Critics feared this could undermine judicial independence and endanger dissidents.

Background:

  • The law would have allowed for criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China under certain circumstances.
  • Opponents said this risked exposing Hong Kongers to unfair trials and violent treatment. 
  • They also argued the bill would give China greater influence over Hong Kong and could be used to target activists and journalists.
  • Until 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by Britain as a colony but then returned to China. Under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, it has more autonomy than the mainland, and its people more rights.
  • The bill was withdrawn in September but demonstrations continue and now demand full democracy and an inquiry into police actions.

What protesters want?

  • Amnesty for arrested protesters
  • An independent inquiry into alleged police brutality
  • Implementation of complete universal suffrage

Hong Kong’s status:

  • It was a British colony for more than 150 years – part of it, Hong Kong island, was ceded to the UK after a war in 1842. Later, China also leased the rest of Hong Kong – the New Territories – to the British for 99 years.
  • It became a busy trading port, and its economy took off in the 1950s as it became a manufacturing hub. 
  • The territory was also popular with migrants and dissidents fleeing instability, poverty or persecution in mainland China.
  • In the early 1980s, as the deadline for the 99-year-lease approached, Britain and China began talks on the future of Hong Kong – with the communist government in China arguing that all of Hong Kong should be returned to Chinese rule.
  • The two sides reached a deal in 1984 that would see Hong Kong return to China in 1997, under the principle of “one country, two systems”. 
  • This meant that while becoming part of one country with China, Hong Kong would enjoy “a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs” for 50 years.
  • As a result, Hong Kong has its own legal system and borders, and rights including freedom of assembly and free speech are protected.
  • For example, it is one of the few places in Chinese territory where people can commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, where the military opened fire on unarmed protesters in Beijing. 

Changing trend:

  • Hong Kong still enjoys freedoms not seen on mainland China – but critics say they are on the decline.
  • Rights groups have accused China of meddling in Hong Kong, citing examples such as legal rulings that have disqualified pro-democracy legislators. 
  • They’ve also been concerned by the disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers, and a tycoon – all eventually re-emerged in custody in China. 
  • Hong Kong’s leader, the chief executive, is currently elected by a 1,200-member election committee – a mostly pro-Beijing body chosen by just 6% of eligible voters.
  • Not all the 70 members of the territory’s lawmaking body, the Legislative Council, are directly chosen by Hong Kong’s voters. Most seats not directly elected are occupied by pro-Beijing lawmakers. 
  • Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, says that ultimately both the leader, and the Legislative Council, should be elected in a more democratic way – but there’s been disagreement over what this should look like.
  • The Chinese government said in 2014 it would allow voters to choose their leaders from a list approved by a pro-Beijing committee, but critics called this a “sham democracy” and it was voted down in Hong Kong’s legislature.

Conclusion:

  • In 28 years’ time in 2047, the Basic Law expires – and what happens to Hong Kong’s autonomy after that is unclear.

Connecting the dots:

  • Demonstrators are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. Analyse

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Etalin Hydroelectric Project

  1. It is being planned in State of Mizoram
  2. The project area falls under the richest bio-geographical province of the Himalayan zone and would be located at the junction of the Palaearctic, Indo-Chinese and Indo-Malayan bio-geographic regions

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

Q.2) Gamosa is predominantly the cultural item of which State in India?

  1. Rajasthan
  2. Karnataka
  3. Assam
  4. Himachal Pradesh

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  1. It is a statutory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  2. Ministry of Food processing is the administrative Ministry of FSSAI.

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

Q.4) Consider the following statements about Coal Bed Methane (CBM)

  1. It is an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal deposits or coal seams
  2. CBM can be used for only power generation but not as compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel.

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

Q.5) Consider the following statements about Constitution Day

  1. It is celebrated on 26th November as it was on this day in 1949 the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution
  2. Earlier 26th November was celebrated as National Law Day, but it was declared as Constitution day through government notification in 1999 to mark the 50th anniversary of adoption of Constitution.

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

ANSWERS FOR 25 Nov 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 A
3 A
4 A
5 C

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