IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd November 2019
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Health emergency declared in the Capital
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment
- The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority declared a public health emergency in the Capital as pollution levels entered the ‘severe plus’ category
- According to the data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall AQI score of Delhi was 504 which prompted the authorities to consider it as public health emergency as it will have adverse health impacts on all, particularly our children
- The deterioration in air quality is due to a combination of accumulated toxins because of local pollution, further spiked by bursting of crackers on Deepavali, stubble burning and extremely adverse weather conditions.
- People are facing symptoms associated with pollution like irritation in the eyes and throat, dry skin, skin allergies, chronic cough and breathlessness
- EPCA is a Supreme Court-mandated body that has over a dozen members. It was notified in 1998 by the Union Environment Ministry under the Environment Protection Act.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Federalism
- The Mekedatu Reservoir project envisages building a balancing reservoir in Cauvery River with storage of 67 tmcft.
- It would also supply drinking water to Bengaluru and Ramanagaram districts, besides generating power.
- The proposal received the Karnataka Cabinet’s approval in February 2017 and the feasibility report was submitted to the Central Water Commission (CWC).
- CWC has allowed Karnataka to go ahead with the project with the prerequisite that it should get No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA).
- After obtaining NOC from CWMA, the proposal will be considered by Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, whose concurrence is mandatory for a project on any inter-State river.
- Karnataka has been contending for the project to help store excess water in Monsoon surplus year.
- Tamil Nadu has been opposing the project that it would effectively prevent the flow in the Cauvery, the lifeline for agriculture in delta districts, besides being a major drinking water source for several districts.
About Cauvery Water Management Authority
- The CWMA, under the Cauvery Water Management Scheme, 2018, was established one June 1, 2018, under Section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
- Mandate of CWMA:
- To give effect to the decision of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal as modified by the Supreme Court vide its Order, dated 16th February, 2018
- Storage, apportionment, regulation and control of Cauvery waters, supervision of operation of reservoirs and regulation of water release.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains I – Culture
- Chavang Kut, the post-harvest festival of the Kuki-Chin-Mizo communities is being celebrated across North-Eastern states with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm.
- The festival marks the Anglo-Kuki war centenary year.
- Chavang stands for ‘autumn’ and Kut mean ‘harvest’. The festival is observed to mark the end of the harvesting season and also to thank deities for a good harvest season.
- In Manipur, Mizoram and Assam and other parts of country, the festival is organized every year on the first day of November month. It is a state holiday in Manipur.
- Manipur is home to 29 tribes and it celebrates a number of traditional festivals. Such events not only highlight the vibrant colors of the region, but also play an important role in strengthening bonds between different tribes
INDIA GERMANY RELATIONS
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II – International relations
- German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited India from 31 October – 1 November 2019 for the fifth round of Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC).
- Chancellor Merkel and PM Modi reiterated that the Indo-German Strategic Partnership is based on the common values and principles of democracy, free and fair trade and rules-based international order.
- They welcomed the success of the ‘Make in India Mittelstand’ (MIIM) Programme which has helped facilitate over 135 German Mittelstand and family-owned companies
- They acknowledged the successful work under the German Indian Startup Exchange Program and welcomed the introduction of a new German Accelerator (GA) programme “Next Step India”, which could lead to a full programme for German Startups in India.
- Joint Declaration of Intent on: Consultations for the period 2020-2024; Indo-German Partnership for Green Urban Mobility; Cooperation in R&D on Artificial Intelligence; cooperation in the field of prevention of marine litter and Cooperation within the International Smart Cities Network.
- MoU for Cooperation in Inland, Coastal and Maritime Technology
- MoU on Establishment of an Academic Collaboration in Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation.
- MoU between National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management MANAGE and the German Agricultural Academy DEULA in the city of Nienburg on collaboration in agricultural technical and professional training.
Women to be inducted in Army by end-2021
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-I- Society (Women Empowerment)
- The first batch of 100 women will start training for the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in December and will be inducted by end-2021
- Women will be inducted in a graded manner to eventually comprise 20 per cent of total Corps of Military Police and their role will range from probing crime cases to assisting the army in field operations wherever required.
- So far, women were being inducted only as officers and this is the first time they would be joining the Army as the soldiers or “personnel below officer rank”
- The Army plans to induct 1700 women Military Police over 17 years
- Inducting women in combat roles came up in 2015 after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government has taken a “historic” decision to induct women in the Military Police with an aim to enhance their representation in the three services.
- According to government data, the Army has 3.80 per cent of its workforce as women, the Air Force has 13.09 per cent and the Navy six per cent.
TRAI fixes ring timings for mobiles, landlines
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III – Infrastructure (Communications)
- In a new regulation, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), has fixed the ring time for calls made to mobiles at 30 seconds, and those made to landlines at 60 seconds
- While this is a matter which directly impacts the experience of a mobile phone user, the reduction in ringing time also affects the revenue of the operator.
- The operators pay each other an interconnection charge (currently 6 paise/min). The charge is paid by the operator whose customers make a call to the operator whose subscribers receive a call.
- In case of a shorter ringing time, a user may miss the call and may need to call the other user back. Hence, making the operator with a ‘shorter ringing time’ gain in interconnection charges.
- Last month, Bharti Airtel had cut the ringing time for calls made by its subscribers to 25 seconds from about 45 seconds, in retaliation to a similar move by rival Reliance Jio. The rules by TRAI bring to an end a face-off between two major operators
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)
- It is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
- TRAI is an independent regulator of Telecom Business in India.
- Aims to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
- It also regularly issues orders and directions on various subjects such as tariffs, quality of service, interconnections, Direct To Home (DTH) services and mobile number portability.
Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT)
- The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, effective from 24 January 2000, establishing a TDSAT to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.
- TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute between a licensor and a licensee, between two or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers, and to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI
Joblessness rises to 3-year high
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III – Economy
- India’s unemployment rate in October rose to 8.5%, the highest level since August 2016, according to data released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE)
- According to CMIE, the urban unemployment rate for October 2019 stood at 8.9%, slightly higher than the rural unemployment rate of 8.3%.
- Among States, Tripura and Haryana saw unemployment levels of more than 20% (the highest), while the unemployment was the lowest in Tamil Nadu at 1.1%
- The CMIE’s figures are in line with the findings of the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey, which had estimated an unemployment rate of 6.1% between July 2017 and June 2018, the worst in 45 years.
- While employment has been declining, the number of working age people who are “Not in Labour Force, Education and Training” has continued to increase — from about 84 million in 2011-12, it has now crossed 100 million
- It is a leading business information company (privately owned). It was established in 1976, primarily as an independent think tank.
- CMIE has a presence over the entire information food-chain – from large scale primary data collection and information product development through analytics and forecasting.
Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS)
- Earlier, the NSSO used to conduct labour surveys quinquennially (5-year).Moreover, the five-yearly surveys used to come with a lag of over one or two years, thus reducing the possibility of timely analysis
- As the domestic labour market is becoming increasingly sensitive to national and global economic factors, policymakers felt the need to construct labour statistics at more frequent intervals.
- To fulfil this objective, the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) was initiated by the NSSO beginning April 2017.
- The PLFS is a continuous survey for generating estimates of labour force indicators on a quarterly basis for urban areas and on an annual basis for both rural and urban areas.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II – Elections
- Electoral bonds worth ₹232 crore were sold in October, taking the total number of bonds sold from March 2018 till October 2019 to 12,313 and the total value to ₹6,128 crore, according to data shared by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)
- After the Lok Sabha election in May, bonds worth ₹45 crore and ₹232 crore were sold in July and October, respectively. In the run-up to the Lok Sabha election, bonds worth ₹822 crore, ₹2,256 crore and ₹1,366 crore were sold in May, April and March,
- Mumbai had the highest amount of bonds at ₹1,880 crore, followed by Kolkata at ₹1,440 crore, Delhi at ₹919 crore and Hyderabad at ₹838 crore, while all other cities accounted for ₹1,051 crore from March 2018 till October 2019,
- Notified in January 2018, the scheme has been offered in 12 tranches from March 2018 till October 2019.
- The bonds are sold by the State Bank of India and can be bought by Indian citizens or companies. Political parties can then redeem the bonds, which work as anonymous donations
For mindmap on Electoral bonds, refer https://iasbaba.com/2018/01/iasbabas-mindmap-issue-electoral-bonds/
TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
- Deadline approaches for the negotiations on the final agreement under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the RCEP countries are expected to finalise in November 2019
- The final ministerial meeting prior to that concluded recently, but with no final agreement in place.
- The Leaders Summit, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking part, will to be held on November 4 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).
- RCEP negotiations started in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- RCEP member states accounted for a population of 3.5 billion people with a total (GDP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39 percent of the world’s GDP
- RCEP will be the world’s largest economic bloc.
- Brings stability to trade relations
- Open up markets of each of the partner countries to the others
- At a time when the U.S. and China are involved in a trade war, a trade grouping with China would mean that the other countries, including India, would be forced to take China’s side against the U.S.
- US and India are currently in talks on a bilateral trade deal, which could be put at risk
India’s issues with RCEP:
- RCEP would give China greater access to India markets.
- Cheap imports from China have already been impacting India’s domestic industry
- India, under the agreement may reduce duties on 80% of items imported from China.
- Under this agreement, India would have to cut duties on 86% of imports from Australia and New Zealand
- India would have to cut duties on 90% for products from ASEAN, Japan and South Korea.
- There is the fear that companies might be forced to transfer huge royalty sums to foreign partners, instead of paying dividends to Indian shareholders.
- India would not be able to pursue its data localisation plans.
- India should make clear its stance and stick to it. If it is joining, it should say so and reassure other countries, which would possibly reduce friction during negotiations.
- If India is not going to join the group, experts say it should stick to the decision and not change its mind later.
Connecting the dots:
- RCEP will be the world’s largest economic bloc, covering nearly half of the global economy. Analyse
TOPIC: General Studies 3:
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
Air pollution in Delhi (part 1)
- All schools in Delhi will be shut until (November 5) ,after the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) ordered a complete shutdown of construction in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Greater Noida.
- The action is part of a series of incremental steps to be taken under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)
- PM 2.5 concentration breached the 300 micrograms per cubic metre mark in the morning.
PM( particulate matter):
- Mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air.
- Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye.
- Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.
Particle Matter includes:
PM10 : inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 10 micrometers and smaller; and
PM2.5 : fine inhalable particles, with diameters that are generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller.
Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP):
- It was approved by the Supreme Court in 2016, and notified in 2017.
- It comprises a series of measures that come into force incrementally as pollution increases.
- GRAP is an emergency measure.
- When the air quality moves from the ‘Poor’ to the ‘Very poor’ category, the measures listed under both categories (‘Poor’ as well as ‘Very poor’) have to be followed.
- If air quality reaches the ‘Severe+’ stage, GRAP mandates that schools must be shut down, and the odd-even road-space rationing scheme must be implemented.
Air pollution in India:
- Estimated to kill 1.5 million people every year
- India has the world’s highest death rate from chronic respiratory diseases and asthma, according to the WHO.
Air pollution in Delhi:
- In Delhi, poor quality air irreversibly damages the lungs of 2.2 million or 50 percent of all children
- The air quality in Delhi, according to a WHO survey of 1600 world cities, is the worst of any major city in the world.
- Air quality index of Delhi is generally Moderate (101-200) level between January to September, and then it drastically deteriorates to Very Poor (301-400), Severe (401-500) or Hazardous (500+) levels in three months between October to December, due to various factors including stubble burning, fire crackers burning during Diwali and cold weather
Connecting the dots:
- Nation’s capital is called as a “gas chamber”. Critically analyse
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Consider the following statements about ‘Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA)’
- It was constituted with the objective of ‘protecting and improving’ the quality of the environment and ‘controlling environmental pollution’ in the National Capital Region.
- It was constituted at the behest of the Supreme Court.
- It is mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) as per the pollution levels.
Select the correct statements
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Q.2) CHAVANG KUT is a festival celebrated predominantly in which regions/state of India?
- Jammu & Kashmir
- None of the above
Q.3) Mekedatu project often seen in news is being planned across which river?
Q.4) Consider the following statements about Electoral Bonds
- It can be purchased from any of the Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs)
- Interest will be given by the banks on these bonds.
- Electoral bonds will be valid till next Lok Sabha elections from the date of purchase.
Which of the following statements is/are not correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1,2 and 3
Q.5) Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) is conducted by which body/organisation?
- NITI Aayog
- CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy)
- NSSO (National Sample Survey Office)
- None of the above
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