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

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

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


SPECIAL PROTECTION GROUP (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Security.

In News

  • Based on the recommendations of the BirbalNath committee report, SPG came into existence in 1985. 
  • From 1985 to 1988, SPG was governed by an Executive Order and only in 1988 the SPG Act came into existence to provide security to the Prime Minister and his/her family.
  • Under the Act, the Special Protection Group (SPG) provides security to the Prime Minister and his immediate family members.
  • SPG doesn’t only provide physical security, but it takes care about protection of Prime Minister’s office, his/her communication systems, foreign tours and issues pertaining to his/her health and well being.
  • It also provides security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for a period of one year from the date on which they cease to hold the office. Beyond this period, the SPG security is provided based on the level of threat as decided by the central government. 
  • The threat must: (i) emanate from a military or terrorist organisation, and (ii) be of a grave and continuing nature.

Provisions of new bill

  • SPG will now protect only the Prime Minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.
  • It will also provide security to former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members staying with them at the residence allotted for a period of five years from the date on which they cease to hold office.
  • If the SPG security is withdrawn from a former Prime Minister, it will also be withdrawn from his immediate family members

EXERCISE MITRA SHAKTI-VII: 2019

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – International relations

In News

  • The seventh edition of India-Sri Lanka joint training exercise, Exercise MITRA SHAKTI– 2019 is scheduled to be conducted at Foreign Training Node (FTN), Pune from 01 – 14 December 2019.
  • Exercise MITRA SHAKTI is conducted annually as part of military diplomacy and interaction between armies of India & Sri Lanka.
  • The aim of this joint training exercise is to build close relations between armies of India and Sri Lanka with focus on sub unit level training for counter insurgency & counter terrorism operations. 

India a major gold smuggling hub

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Economy & Security

In News

  • International non-government organisation IMPACT, in its latest report, has said that India has become one of the largest gold smuggling hubs in the world with One-third of the world’s gold passing through India
  • Gold, possibly tied to conflict, human rights abuses and corruption in Africa and South America, is entering legal international markets through India
  • The NGO said it had uncovered how the country imported about 1,000 tonnes of gold per year — a quarter more than the official figures indicated
  • Actors across India’s gold industry are failing to do proper checks on where gold comes from to ensure it’s not financing conflict and human rights violations
  • Three primary factors for smuggling are: tax breaks, falsified origin documents and complicit allies
  • Refined gold was being smuggled into India primarily from the United Arab Emirates, while key traders and refiners in Africa’s Great Lakes region, with links to India, were identified as being part of the illicit gold trade

Govt. extends 15th finance panel term

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Indian Polity

In News

  • The Union Cabinet approved the extension of the term of the 15th Finance Commission, which will now submit two reports. The term had been extended till October 30.
  • The first report, for financial year 2020-21, will be submitted in the coming months before the Union Budget, and the second report for the period 2021-26 will be presented by October 30, 2020.
  • This will effectively mean the 15th Finance Commission’s recommendations will be applicable for six years and not the conventional five-year period.
  • 15th Finance Commission has seen its terms of reference expanded and the reorganisation of J&K, and so, an extension of the term.
  • The 9th Finance Commission under the chairmanship of N.K.P. Salve also saw its recommendation period extended to six years from the conventional five.
  • It has happened before in the 14th Finance Commission when Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were split

Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains I – Geography

In News

  • According to study, Global warming has altered a key weather system and that may be whetting cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, decreasing winter rain in north India and altering global rainfall patterns
  • The Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) can be defined as an eastward moving ‘pulse’ of clouds, rainfall, winds and pressure near the equator that typically recurs every 30 to 60 days.
  • MJO is a moving band of rain clouds that travels around the globe spanning 12,000–20,000 km across the tropical oceans. 
  • In its journey, it interacts with surface waters of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, the largest pool of warm water in the globe, and due to this the lifecycle of the MJO gets affected.
  • The MJO clouds on average are spending only 15 days, instead of 19, over the Indian Ocean. This is affecting the global climate and thus rainfall over India.

Phases of Madden-Julian Oscillation

  • The MJO consists of two parts or phases. 
  • Enhanced rainfall (or convective) phase: winds at the surface converge, and the air is pushed up throughout the atmosphere. At the top of the atmosphere, the winds reverse (i.e., diverge). Such rising air motion in the atmosphere tends to increase condensation and rainfall.
  • Suppressed rainfall phase: winds converge at the top of the atmosphere, forcing air to sink and, later, to diverge at the surface. As air sinks from high altitudes, it warms and dries, which suppresses rainfall.
  • It is this entire dipole structure, that moves west to east with time in the Tropics, causing more cloudiness, rainfall, and even storminess in the enhanced convective phase, and more sunshine and dryness in the suppressed convective phase

Impact on Indian Monsoons

  • When it is over the Indian Ocean during the Monsoon season, it brings good rainfall over the Indian subcontinent.
  • On the other hand, when it witnesses a longer cycle and stays over the Pacific Ocean, MJO brings bad news for the Indian Monsoon.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th November 2019

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


Src: Click here


QS Rankings: 8 India universities in Asia top 100

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Education

In News

  • In the latest QS World University Rankings for Asia, 96 Indian institutions rank among 550 for the continent, out of which 20 are brand-new entries.
  • While Mainland China has four in the top 10 this year, India does not yet have a university among the top 30. 
  • The best performing institution from India is IIT Bombay, which drops one place to 34th position. It is followed by IIT Delhi at 43rd place and IIT Madras at 50th.
  • The QS Rankings use a methodology based on 11 metrics:
    • Academic reputation (30%); Employer reputation (20%); Faculty/student ratio (10%); International research network (10%); Citations per paper (10%) and papers per faculty (5%);
    • Staff with a PhD (5%); Proportion of international faculty (2.5%) and proportion of international students (2.5%); Proportion of inbound exchange students (2.5%) and proportion of outbound exchange students (2.5%)
  • India dominates the ‘Staff with PhD’ indicator with seven institutions achieving the perfect 100.00 score and raking No. 1 tied in this metric. IIT Bombay is the best Indian university in the ‘Academic Reputation’ indicator.

Do You Know?

  • The Indian higher education system has grown exponentially over the past decade. The number of universities has nearly doubled, and the number of colleges has grown by 50 per cent. 
  • Nevertheless, the domestic demand for tertiary education of its young population — which is estimated to become the world’s largest by 2030 — is growing more rapidly than the expanded provision

Miscellaneous

Mannequins with cameras to scan Bengaluru traffic

In News

  • Bengaluru Traffic Police department has installed as many as 200 life-size mannequins at trouble-prone junctions in Bengaluru.
  • The mannequins have been outfitted with standard police uniforms, reflector jackets, hats, boots, masks and even sunglasses, in an attempt to trick motorists into believing that it is a real cop.
  • Nudge theory:Studies show that there are fewer violations at manned junctions compared to unmanned ones. The behaviour of motorists changes automatically when they see a traffic policeman.
  • The mannequins, dressed as traffic police, will thus deter repeat offenders. The idea is apparently inspired by farmers using scarecrows.

(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019

Context:

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the Transgender Persons’ (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, even though several opposition members urged the house to send the bill to a committee for further scrutiny. 
  • Since its introduction in 2016, the legislation has come under heavy criticism from transgender rights activists.

Objective :

  • To provide for protection of rights of transgender persons, their welfare, and other related matters.

Definition of a transgender person: 

  • Transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.  
  • It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.  
  • Intersex variations is defined to mean a person who at birth shows variation in his or her primary sexual characteristics, external genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones from the normative standard of male or female body.

Highlights:

  • Prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment 
  • Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.  
  • If the immediate family is unable to care for the transgender person, the person may be placed in a rehabilitation centre, on the orders of a competent court.
  • Educational institutions funded or recognised by the relevant government shall provide inclusive education, sports and recreational facilities for transgender persons, without discrimination.
  • The government must take steps to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.     
  • A revised certificate may be obtained only if the individual undergoes surgery to change their gender either as a male or a female. 
  • It must also take steps for their rescue and rehabilitation, vocational training and self-employment, create schemes that are transgender sensitive, and promote their participation in cultural activities.
  • Recognizes the following offences against transgender persons: (i) forced or bonded labour (excluding compulsory government service for public purposes), (ii) denial of use of public places, (iii) removal from household, and village, (iv) physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse.  

National Council for Transgender persons (NCT): 

The NCT will consist of: 

(i) Union Minister for Social Justice (Chairperson); 

(ii) Minister of State for Social Justice (Vice- Chairperson); 

(iii) Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice; 

(iv) One representative from ministries including Health, Home Affairs, and Human Resources Development.

  • Other members include representatives of the NITI Aayog, and the National Human Rights Commission.  
  • State governments will also be represented.  The Council will also consist of five members from the transgender community and five experts from non-governmental organisations. 
  • The Council will advise the central government as well as monitor the impact of policies, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons. It will also redress the grievances of transgender persons. 

Controversies: 

  • Following protests by the queer community against the 2016 and 2018 bills, the bill tabled in 2019 did away with few of the severely criticised provisions of the 2018 bill, such as criminalisation of begging and the establishment of a District Screening Committee to process applications for issuance of transgender person certificates.
  • It failed to incorporate yet other principles in line with the Supreme Court judgment in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (NALSA v. UOI) in 2014, such as the right of transgender persons to self-perceived gender identity without undergoing sex reassignment surgery, and mandatory reservations in jobs and educational institutions.
  • Criticism was also made of the lesser punishment for crimes against transgender persons compared with punishment for crimes against cisgender persons.
  • No government or private entity can discriminate against a transgender person in employment matters, including recruitment, and promotion.

 SC  Judgements:

  • In 2014, the Supreme Court of India delivered its judgment in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India (also known as, NALSA v. UOI), in which it recognised the rights of the transgender persons in India and laid down a series of measures for securing transgender persons’ rights by mandating prohibition of discrimination, recommending the creation of welfare policies and reservations for transgender persons in educational institutions and jobs.
  • The judgment upheld the right of a transgender person to self-perceived gender identity, guaranteed by the Constitution of India, in the absence of sex reassignment surgery.

Conclusion:

  • With the Bill becoming law, unaltered in any significant form, in the face of such strident opposition, the community is seething at being ignored.
  •  Its only hope is that the National Council for Transgender Persons, which is supposed to provide the institutional framework for implementing the Act, might allow more latitude for incorporating genuine demands. Otherwise, this Act might well be a glove that ill fits the hand it was tailored for.

Connecting the dots:

  • The Transgender Persons Act should have factored in suggestions from the community. Critically analyse

SCI & TECH

TOPIC: General Studies 3:

  • Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Cartosat-3

Context:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation’s successful launch of Cartosat-3, along with 13 other small U.S. satellites, marks a major technological milestone for India.
  • An advanced Indian Earth Observation satellite built and developed by ISRO, which will replace the IRS series.
  • It has a panchromatic resolution of 0.25 metres making it the imaging satellite with highest resolution and Mx of 1 metre with a high quality resolution which is a major improvement from the previous payloads in the Cartosat series.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th November 2019

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

Src: TOI

Cartosat, then and now

  • Cartosat-3 has been developed as an improvement over the Cartosat-1 and Cartosat-2 series satellites, though ISRO has not yet revealed the full specifications of this satellite.
  • Cartosat-1, launched in May 2005, was the first Indian remote sensing satellite capable of taking three-dimensional images. 
  • With a resolution of 2.5 metres, which meant it could identify a car on the ground from space, Cartosat-1 helped in creating new digital maps of over 150 towns and cities in the country at a scale of 1:10,000. Earlier maps were of a scale of 1:50,000 or even lower. 
  • Data from this satellite were also used to a do an inundation vulnerability assessment of the Indian coastline in the event of a tsunami or a major cyclone, and even for estimating the status of irrigation potential created by the large number of projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme.

Cartosat-3

  • Cartosat-3 is capable of unprecedented image resolution of nearly 25 cm on the ground as against the best global military-grade satellites that can provide a 10 cm resolution. 
  • The best satellite images commercially available are between 25-30 cm.

Applications

  • Data from most of the Cartosat satellites are exclusively used by the armed forces.
  • However, an existing policy allows only government and government authorised agencies to access ISRO’s high-resolution imageries below a resolution of 1 metre.
  •  Cartosat-3’s optical imaging will also help to detect precise cartographic or mapping activities.
  • The imageries are also used for urban and rural infrastructure planning, coastal land use and regulation, utility management such as monitoring road networks, water grids or distribution, creation of land use maps, disaster management, etc.

Connecting the dots:

  • ISRO’s credentials as a poster child for India’s technological abilities have been fortified, it still has a long way to go in terms of its reputation as an enabler of local business. 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 Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO)

  1. Indian Ocean Dipole and El-Nino remain over their respective positions, while MJO is a traversing phenomenon
  2. When MJO is over the Indian Ocean during the Monsoon season, it brings good rainfall over the Indian subcontinent.

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) Consider the following statements about Finance Commission

  1. It isa statutory body established under Finance Commission Act, 1951.
  2. The term of 15th Finance Commission has been extended whose recommendations will be now applicable for six years, which has happened for first time in India’s history.

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.3) Mitra Shakti is a military exercise conducted between India and which other country/countries?

  1. USA, Japan and Australia
  2. Nepal
  3. Sri Lanka
  4. None of the above

Q.4) Consider the following Statements about Special Protection Group (SPG)

  1. SPG came into existence in 1985 based on the recommendations of BirbalNath committee report
  2. From 1985 to 1988, SPG was governed by an Executive Order and only in 1988 the SPG Act came into existence to provide security to the Prime Minister and his/her family.
  3. SPG provides only physical security to Prime Minister but protection of Prime Minister’s office, his/her communication systems, foreign tours and issues pertaining to his/her health and well being are taken care by Indian Army

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

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

Q.5) Consider the following statements

  1. UNESCO, in its latest report, has said that India has become one of the largest gold smuggling hubs in the world with one-third of the world’s gold passing through India
  2. Three primary factors for smuggling gold through India are: tax breaks, falsified origin documents and complicit allies

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 27 Nov 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 A
3 D
4 D
5 A

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